Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan recently sat down for a joint interview with The MMQB that theoretically would be about how the brothers are working together to put last year’s disappointments behind them.
Instead, the session typically had all sorts of regrets, excuses, chest-puffing and settling old scores before moving on. Rob Ryan, for one, would like you to know that the Saints‘ last-place defensive finish over the last two years while he was the coordinator was not his defense.
“Oh, we are dead last in defense,” Ryan told Jenny Vrentas. “Well, yeah, you are going to be dead last playing this bull– defense. But it is my fault because I didn’t say anything. I never stood up and said, F– you, I ain’t coaching this. I promise you I’d say it now.”
Rob, who is now a defensive assistant under Rex in Buffalo, said in many different ways that he was pushed to mimic the Seahawks‘ defense in New Orleans and adopt a simpler, less multiple style of defense in New Orleans. And it all started with the signing of safety Jairus Byrd.
“I think everything starts with the head coach and goes higher than that. They signed players; they signed a free-agent free safety (Jairus Byrd in 2014), and said, we are going to keep him in the middle of the field like the goalpost. Well, that’s great. He’s not going to make one play back there, and now we have changed the entire defense for one signing, and it ruined us.
“He’s a great kid. But the truth of the matter is, you let an All-Pro safety walk, Malcolm Jenkins, and lost your two best leaders on the team, him and Roman Harper,” Rob Ryan continued. “We changed the entire style of play. It was strange. But hey, I did the best job I could. And it wasn’t good enough. They should have fired me. They probably should have fired everybody that made that decision to go in that direction. Now I’m going to move my whole family over here to Buffalo for a reason: to go kick everybody’s ass, including theirs.”
If you are wondering what Saints coach Sean Payton thinks about not-so-indirectly getting blamed for the Saints‘ defensive struggles, not to mention the implication that he should be fired, you don’t have to wait.
“The idea that it wasn’t his defense, or he wasn’t in charge of it, is silly,” Payton told Mike Florio on PFT Live Friday morning, via ProFootballTalk. “When you’re struggling as bad as we’re struggling for two years, and some of the same problems keep coming up — you know, 10 guys on the field — those are things that just are hard to live with.”
Rob Ryan isn’t letting his struggles in New Orleans shake his confidence, though. After all, he doesn’t believe it was his defense.
“Seattle has been great, but all the other teams doing (that scheme) are finishing sh–ty like I did,” Ryan said. “Right there next to New Orleans is Atlanta, Jacksonville. That’s not sour grapes. That’s me getting pissed off. Because I am great.”
And: “I should have been a d— like everybody else would have been. That’s the truth. Instead, I tried to toe the company line: I’ll do it, I’ll advance it, I’ll slow the plan down because we’ve got new players here. But that’s not what I believe. That’s not who I am. Hey, I did it to myself, too.”
Rob’s gripes with the Saints were only one part of a fascinating interview that is well worth checking out in full. Come for the trashing talking; stay for the swaggering self-belief and lap band jokes.