ILL WILL: Saints’ Rob Ryan becoming public enemy No. 1 in New Orleans


After Sunday’s loss at home to the Tennessee Titans, it seems the fan hatred for New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has reached an all-time high.

Between cursing his name and calling for his head, not all, but a majority of the Saints fanatics have had enough of the big guy on defense.  But while it’s not Rob Ryan who is responsible for blown coverages and missed tackles, and especially not at fault for poor play along the offensive line, he seems to be the No. 1 reason for the Saints’ struggles in 2015, according to what I’ve seen on social media.

I don’t agree with any of that hatred, and one person cannot be blamed.  I do believe, however, after some time, if improvements aren’t made, then a team is due for some change.  After Rob Ryan came in and revitalized a historically bad defense from 2012 into one of the league’s best the following year, numbers have dipped, the ceiling has lowered, and the Saints have not seen a winning record since 2013, yet, they still have the No. 1 overall offense?  Something just does not add up.

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The Saints were victims to a very disappointing 1-4 start this season.  But improvements were made on both sides of the ball, momentum was regained, and New Orleans won three games in a row to bump their record back up to an even .500.

But between the last two games, even the shootout win against the New York Giants, the Saints’ defense has looked miserable.  Sorry to those who want to disagree, but quit being stubborn and swallow that big, tough pill.  Sure, injuries can be blamed to an extent, but part of your job as a coach, specifically a defensive coordinator in this scenario, is to find ways to overcome the adversity that comes along with playing/coaching in the National Football League.

Sunday’s loss to a 31st ranked Tennessee offense certainly makes Rob Ryan’s seat hotter than it’s ever been in New Orleans, but the chair is still not hot enough to kick him out on the streets.

While the Saints do have a likely handcuff in “Senior Defensive Assistant” Dennis Allen, who returned to New Orleans this year after stints with Denver and Oakland, Rob Ryan will also have another shot or two to get his department back in order once key players can make a full recovery.

Rob Ryan has not run out of chances yet.  The Saints face another bad offense in the Washington Redskins on Sunday.  If they see the same struggles on defense they saw against the Titans, then Ryan may be in some trouble, especially with the approaching bye week, a popular time in the NFL to make adjustments.

Even if it doesn’t work, sometimes change needs to happen, not only for the team, but for the fans.  But even if fans get that change they want to see, they can’t expect a full turnaround mid-season — that’s just not how it works.

Saints fans have every right to be frustrated — their team has been underperforming since the start of last year.  And if it continues, then maybe it will begin to paint a picture for head coach Sean Payton and company to see that it is indeed time to move on from Rob Ryan in New Orleans.  Until then, let’s cool it a bit and show some support for a team fighting its way to stay alive.