The New Orleans Saints did what was expected by potentially bolstering up their defense via the 2015 NFL Draft. With a handful of new rookies and a splash in the free agent market, Rob Ryan‘s unit seems to have just about everything it needs to get the Black and Gold back on the road to success this season.
Of course, Rob Ryan has no control over inefficient tackling, missed coverage, offensive turnovers and injuries that always seem to haunt New Orleans, but he is the play caller on defense, and is in complete control of the mixture of schemes thrown at the Saints’ opponents. However, the return of Dennis Allen for a “senior defensive assistant” role is a likely indicator for a little change, and possible insurance purposes behind Ryan.
First off, All-Pro safety Jairus Byrd will be returning from a season-ending knee injury that left him sidelined for the final 12 games of the season. Kenny Vaccaro was way off after having an exceptional rookie campaign, but let it be known his 2013 injury lingered in 2014. Those are two key elements at full health Ryan will have to work with.
The offseason acquisition of CB Brandon Browner alongside Keenan Lewis already marks big expectations from the secondary in 2015. After taking two pass rushers, an interior linebacker, a defensive lineman and two additional physical cornerbacks on top of the talent that already resides down on the bayou, the pieces are beginning to fall into place for Rob Ryan and his potentially dangerous unit.
So we add the Browner and the healthy Byrd to the Cam Jordan, Junior Galette and loaded secondary equation. In there, we also compute rookies OLB Hau’oli Kikaha, perhaps the nation’s most polished pass rusher, ILB Stephone Anthony, a tackling extraordinaire and true leader, P.J. Williams, a physical corner with starting potential, along with a number of other solid newcomers including OLB Davis Tull and DT Tyeler Davison. What does that equal? The correct answer, kids, is do or die for Rob Ryan.
If we don’t see some sort of turnaround in production, he can kiss the roast beef poboys and late-night Abita beers goodbye. Coach Rob was already in the hot seat prior to the draft, but this is the icing on the cake. I don’t want to hear otherwise.
I don’t care about health or the leadership issues that haunted the defense– good coaches find ways around that. There should be no reason for the No. 1 offense in the league to be missing out on the playoffs, but the Saints proved that argument wrong.
Remember, it was just two years ago when this same defense wreaked havoc in the National Football League. The Saints were favored by many for a Super Bowl appearance in 2014, especially after Jairus Byrd touched down in the Crescent City. However, game after game, the Black and Gold continued to disappoint.
Was last year a fluke, or were they showing their true colors as a 7-9 club? If so, who’s to blame? The truth will unfold in 2015, but all heads will turn to New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who is indeed taking the blame for the mishaps a season ago. The pieces are there and are continuing to stack, but will he execute accordingly?
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