The New Orleans Saints, for all intents and purposes, are on the verge of hiring Rob Ryan. The universal groan you hear is from the majority of Saints’ fans who feel like this hire is anything other than good. But wait! Before all despair and begin shaking their heads in disapproval, let’s take a close look. The defense’s job is to stop their opponents and give the offense a chance to win the game. This would be all good and well for the 2012 Cowboys expect for one thing. The Cowboys turnover ratio for last season’s campaign was tied for the 5th worst in the league.
One of the prevailing thoughts out of the Saints’ corner is that it couldn’t get worse. Historically and literally, Saints’ fans couldn’t have a worse defense. The 2012 Saints’ defense was bad in Biblical proportions. Call it a bad break, a perfect storm of conditions, whatever you like to say about last year’s defense, good wouldn’t be in any of your thoughts. Enter Rob Ryan, and exit stage left Steve Spagnuolo.
Many Saints hailed the arrival of Spags’ defensive genius as the cure to solve all the Saints’ ails. No one was right, and the only thing left after the season was a Super Dome-sized bucketful of “What the Hell just happened(s)?” sitting on the doorstep of everyone involved with the Saints. If the Spagnuolo hiring was indicative of anything, it was this. There is really no way of knowing how well or not a coach or player will do in a new setting or city. It’s with this thought that we hope that Ryan succeeds.
The Dallas Cowboys, their franchise, and the air that surrounds them breeds expectations. One of those expectations is that their owner Jerry Jones will always have his hand deep in the mix, wanted or not. Rob Ryan, like his brother Rex, is a large ego to have on any team. While Rob isn’t as pronounced and robust as his brother, he still expects the ability to coach as he pleases. Although there wasn’t a lot of reports of dissention amongst the troops in Dallas, you can bet that Ryan had a deep disdain for Jerry Jones’ meddling. Jerry Jones may be a shrewd and calculating businessman, but inside the confines of Cowboy stadium, he’s just a “past his prime” veteran trying to figure out how to stay on the varsity team without looking foolish.
Unfortunately for Jones, the “not looking like a meddling old fool” doesn’t happen a lot as of late. The firing of Rob Ryan came as a shock to all, sort of. This is Jerry Jones we’re talking about. Rob Ryan’s defensive woes can’t all be attributed to his ability as a coach. Let’s face it, if Muhammad Ali rope-a-doped Frazier for the whole fight it would’ve been Ali face down on the mat in Manilla. Instead of Ali face down, last year it was Ryan’s defensive squads that got the life ran out of them like Seabiscuit.
If the Saints hire Ryan or not, one thing is a definite. If Drew Brees & Company have any visions of Lombardi trophies dancing in their heads, they better hire some player who can play defense. Whether it’s for Ryan or not remains to be seen.