Rob Ryan would like to be back next season. He just isn’t sure if he’ll be granted the opportunity to come back and fix a defense that performed well under expectations this season.
And if he is brought back next season, Ryan said the person who needs to improve the most for this unit to get better is himself.
“If I don’t (have the opportunity to come back), then I’m still going to look in the mirror and make sure I’m doing things right,” the New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator said Friday. “I’ve been coaching a long time and the best way for me is to be myself and usually that works.”
It worked well in 2013, Ryan’s first year with the team, when the defense was one of the top units in the league. It didn’t work so well this season, as the Saints enter the final week as one of the most porous defenses in the NFL.
Ryan believes things flew off the rails in the offseason when the defense was being hyped up in the media as one of the better units in the NFL. That would have been fine, but many players began believing the hype.
“We’re dealing with human beings,” Ryan said. “Obviously we drank the Kool-Aid too much, I think. If they don’t think so, well, then I think that’s wrong. I think that’s an honest opinion.”
When does Ryan expect to know about his future with the team?
“I hate fielding these questions,” Ryan said. “I field them a lot of times. So, I mean, hell, I don’t know. I’m a tough guy. I can handle it.”
Coleman gets his shot
Brandon Coleman received the best Christmas gift he could receive when the Saints called him Thursday afternoon and informed him that he was being promoted to the 53-man roster.
The first call he made after learning the news?
“My mother,” he said. “I wanted to let her know. I knew she would be excited for me.”
Coleman is also excited for himself. His promotion comes as part of a series of moves that included running back Pierre Thomas (ribs) and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (ankle) being placed on injured reserve. The team also promoted linebacker Jerry Franklin from the practice squad and signed center Michael Brewster to the practice squad.
Coach Sean Payton said he did not expect Thomas (45 catches, 222 yards; 45 carries for 378 yards) to have to undergo surgery during the offseason. His injury likely means that Travaris Cadet will see more snaps as the third-down back this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With Hicks down and John Jenkins listed as probable, it could create an opportunity for Lawrence Virgil to receive more snaps at defensive tackle.
Coleman (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) spent the season on the practice squad, where he has impressed Payton with his ability throughout the season.
“When he came here he was recovering from a leg injury,” Payton said. “But he and Seantavius (Jones) have been really impressive. ... He’s got size, he’s tough, I like the work ethic of this group. It’s a good group of young receivers when you look at him, Seantavius and (Brandin) Cooks.”
During his junior season at Rutgers, Coleman caught 34 passes for 538 yards with four touchdowns over 12 games.
Terron Armstead will not be suiting up for the season finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Saints left tackle has been ruled out of action due to a neck injury, meaning that Bryce Harris will again likely start in his place.
Defensive tackle John Jenkins, who was held out of practice with an abdomen injury, is listed as questionable. If he is unable to play, with Hicks being placed on injured reserve, Virgil would likely see an increased role.
Safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) and right tackle Zach Strief (neck) are probable after being limited in Friday’s practice.