2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Saints like the way new DC Rob Ryan listens

By BRETT MARTEL - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-01 18:00

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - From his long, gray hair flaring out of the back of his hat to his periodic brash statements, Rob Ryan presents himself as a renegade who does things his own way and doesn't care what anyone else thinks.

Yet those who've been around the Saints' new defensive coordinator for a while don't necessarily see him that way.

As Ryan aims to turn around a unit that allowed an NFL-record 7,042 yards last season, he has sought regular input from his charges. His players list his willingness to listen to their ideas among his top attributes, and say they appreciate being consulted.

``He's always worried about: How do we feel about this? How do we like this look? And if we don't like something, say something,'' safety Roman Harper said after Thursday's practice. ``He understands that we play the game and if we're not comfortable, then it's not going to work.''

Even his hairstyle isn't entirely of his own making.

``Who are we kidding? The wife likes it long,'' he said.

Ryan learned defense and much of what he knows about football from his father, Buddy Ryan, who won Super Bowls as a defensive coach with the New York Jets and Chicago Bears, and who was head coach of three playoff teams in Philadelphia, all of them known for having one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Ryan said he and his brother Rex, the head coach of the Jets, both tend to work collaboratively with players because of their father's influence.

``I've only been in the league 16 years,'' Ryan began, somewhat sarcastically, ``But I've been around it my whole life.

``The greatest defensive coach that ever coached is my dad. ... I watched how he was and the biggest thing he told me and my brother is: `Be yourself,''' Ryan said. ``We know we're good and we're confident, but we're smart and we don't mind sharing anything. When you have smart veteran players and they're seeing things differently, they're the ones on the field.''

Ryan spent the past two seasons in Dallas, where his defenses ranked in the middle of the league in yards allowed - 14th in 2011 and 18th in 2012. He was fired after last season, but was not out of work long.

Saints head coach Sean Payton, looking to change his team's scheme from a 4-3 (four linemen, three linebackers) to a 3-4, hired Ryan in early February.

Payton, who has been known to work closely with star quarterback Drew Brees on offensive game plans, said Ryan's approach toward soliciting player input fits with the Saints' overall approach.

``We, as teachers, as coaches, always want to have feedback,'' Payton said. ``That would be our philosophy. ... One of Rob's strengths is his ability to communicate with a player and make them feel good about what they're doing.''

The 50-year-old Ryan has run 3-4 schemes for years. He worked as a linebacker coach in such defenses in New England, where he was part of two Super Bowl-winning teams. He then spent five seasons as defensive coordinator in Oakland (2004-2008), followed by two seasons in Cleveland before moving to Dallas in 2011.

Ryan's players routinely praise his passionate, fun-loving and aggressive approach to coaching defense. Saints players also noted that Ryan has studied a number of blitzes the Saints ran well under former coordinator Gregg Williams from 2009-11, and brought elements of those plays back.

Ryan said he owed his start in the NFL to nepotism; his father hired him as a defensive backs coach on his Arizona staff in 1994. He went back to coaching in college in 1996 before returning to the NFL with New England in 2000, and said one of the keys to sustaining his NFL coaching career was being secure enough in himself to take advice from his players.

``The better teacher you are, the more input you can handle,'' Ryan said. ``I don't have a damn dictatorship in my room. I think open forum is good when everybody knows what they're talking about. I've always done that. It doesn't make it right, but it is who I am. I just want it to look right on Sundays.''

Notes: RB Mark Ingram did not practice. Payton said he was simply giving the running back a day of rest and expected him back on Friday. ... LB Curtis Lofton returned after missing a pair of practices with back soreness. ... The Saints initially had scheduled Friday's practice indoors in the afternoon and closed to the public. It is now slated to be outdoors in the morning and open to the public. Saturday's scrimmage at team headquarters also is scheduled to be outdoors and open the public. ... A team of NFL officials, as well as some college and high school officials in the leagues training program, were working with the Saints during Thursday's practice and will remain through Saturday's scrimmage. Among the officials was Sarah Thomas of Pascagoula, Miss., who currently is a college official in Conference USA and finalist to become a permanent NFL official. She could become the first woman to officiate an NFL game.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Sam BradfordApr 24 06:02p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota could be selected by the Philadelphia Eagles if the team could make trades with the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans, according to one draft rumor. [ More ]

Chris PolkApr 24 05:42p

Philadelphia Eagles restricted free-agent RB Chris Polk's tender offer has been rescinded by the Eagles, according to a source. Polk will become an unrestricted free agent and allowed to sign with any team.

Jaiquawn JarrettApr 24 04:52p

New York Jets restricted free-agent SS Jaiquawn Jarrett signed his tender offer Friday, April 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Hakeem NicksApr 24 01:42p

Free-agent WR Hakeem Nicks (Colts) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the Tennessee Titans Friday, April 24.

Justin BlackmonApr 24 12:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon is likely done with the Jaguars if he's reinstated into the league, in the opinion of beat writer Ryan O'Halloran.

Adrian PetersonApr 23 05:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson may not be in the Dallas Cowboys' plans after all, according Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Robinson said the Cowboys have not spoken to the Vikings regarding Peterson.

Demaryius ThomasApr 23 03:32p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas has decided not to participate in offseason workouts because he does not want to suffer an injury, but general manager John Elway does not [ More ]

Will HillApr 23 03:12p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent FS Will Hill signed his tender offer Thursday, April 23, according to sources. Hill received a one-year deal worth $1.54 million.

Andre EllingtonApr 23 03:02p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington's (foot) injured foot is about 95 percent healed, and Ellington has not suffered any setbacks, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

M. Jones-DrewApr 23 02:22p

Free-agent RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Raiders) will sign a one-day deal to retire as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars next Tuesday, April 28. He played nine seasons and rushed [ More ]

Victor CruzApr 23 02:12p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) said he believes that he will be ready to play in the season opener next season and play like he did before he suffered the injury.

Justin TuckerApr 23 01:52p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent PK Justin Tucker has signed his one-year tender offer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Bear PascoeApr 23 12:52p

Free-agent TE Bear Pascoe (Falcons) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Thursday, April 23. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sam BradfordApr 23 01:53a

The Philadelphia Eagles and QB Sam Bradford have yet to make significant progress on a contract extension sparking speculation the quarterback might be traded again, although head coach Chip [ More ]

Brandin CooksApr 22 11:43p

New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks (knee) spent time training together with QB Drew Brees during the offseason in San Diego. 'Man, I love everything about him, his makeup, [ More ]

Greg JenningsApr 22 06:13p

Free-agent WR Greg Jennings (Vikings) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Philip RiversApr 22 05:33p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers may be losing faith in the organization, according to NFL Network analyst and former Chargers' RB LaDainian Tomlinson. 'The parts around him keep [ More ]

Jacques McClendonApr 22 04:13p

Free-agent OG Jacques McClendon (Jaguars) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Adrian PetersonApr 22 02:23p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not expected to be traded by the Vikings unless the team is overwhelmed by an offer from another team, according to a source. [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 22 02:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown said he is not participating in voluntary workouts because he is spending time with his newborn child. Brown said he will report to offseason [ More ]

Marvin LewisApr 22 11:33a

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis signed a one-year extension Wednesday, April 22. He's under contract through the 2016 season.

S. RichardsonApr 21 05:23p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Shaquille Richardson (undisclosed) was released Tuesday, April 21, with a failure to disclose physical condition designation.

Adrian PetersonApr 21 01:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains a candidate to be traded, and a source close to the situation believes that if he isn't traded before or during the 2015 [ More ]

Dennis PittaApr 20 06:52p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) is participating in the team's voluntary conditioning program that started Monday, April 20. Pitta's career remains in doubt after fracturing his right hip [ More ]

Prince AmukamaraApr 20 05:22p

New York Giants CB Prince Amukamara (biceps) said he's about 90% recovered from a torn biceps he suffered last season.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 05:02p

Updating a previous item, free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) signed a contract to officially retire with the Arizona Cardinals.

Tim TebowApr 20 03:52p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) officially signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 20 01:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not in attendance for the start of the team's offseason workout program Monday, April 20, according to league sources. However, Peterson hasn't attended [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 20 11:02a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is seeking a new contract and could hold out from minicamps and training camp, according to sources.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 07:22a

Free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) is expected to retire Monday, April 20, and join the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff. The Cardinals, the team Wilson played for from 2001-2012, have announced a press conference.

Tim TebowApr 19 07:42p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) is expected to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20.

Stefen WisniewskiApr 18 01:02p

Free-agent C Stefen Wisniewski (Raiders) signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday, April 18. Financial terms were undisclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group