Former Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan told Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB that the defensive problems in New Orleans stemmed from the fact that he wasn’t running the scheme he preferred.
Ryan, who was fired after 10 games with the Saints at the bottom of most defensive rankings for the second straight year, is now a defensive assistant on his brother Rex’s staff in Buffalo.
But he believes that his downfall in New Orleans was related to a scheme change.
“I need to be in a multiple system. I was hired to be in a multiple system in New Orleans,” Ryan said. “I did a damn good job and got fired for it.”
New Orleans ranked fourth in the league in defense in Ryan’s first season in 2013.
Then the bottom fell out, and Ryan presided over arguably the league’s worst defense the last two years.
Ryan says that the Saints changed their defensive direction after the 2013 season. According to Ryan, New Orleans shifted to a system like the one run in Seattle, a simple system predicated on man coverage, a single-high safety played by Jairus Byrd and little variation.
“There are two years that don’t have my signature on them, and it’s the last two years in New Orleans,” Ryan said. “And that’s the truth.”
Saints coach Sean Payton resisted that line of thinking in an appearance on Pro Football Talk on Friday morning.
Payton placed the blame on the substitution, alignment and defensive call problems that plagued the Saints over the last two seasons.
“The idea that it wasn’t his defense, or that he wasn’t in charge of it, is silly,” Payton said.