2015 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

Jake BequetteAug 28 08:52a

New England Patriots TE/DE Jake Bequette (undisclosed) was waived/injured Thursday, Aug. 27.

Miles AustinAug 28 08:32a

Philadelphia Eagles WR Miles Austin hasn't stood out, or received many chances to stand out, thus in training camp. His role is undetermined as he could start on the [ More ]

Nelson AgholorAug 27 10:22p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor should be the 'second-most productive receiver on the team when the season ends,' according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ryan MallettAug 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett missed practice Thursday, Aug. 27, because he overslept. Mallett was present for meetings later on, however. He will also be at practice Friday, Aug. 28.

Josh JohnsonAug 27 07:42p

Free-agent QB Josh Johnson (Bengals) signed with the New York Jets Thursday, Aug. 29. QB Jake Heaps was subsequently waived.

R. Griffin IIIAug 27 07:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (concussion) has been cleared to play Saturday, Aug. 29, against the Baltimore Ravens.

Earl ThomasAug 27 06:22p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) is on track to be ready for the start of the regular season, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Markus WheatonAug 27 05:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton could be primed for a breakout season, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler.

Letroy GuionAug 27 04:52p

Green Bay Packers DE Letroy Guion will be suspended for the first three games of the regular season after his appeal was apparently denied.

Martavis BryantAug 27 03:02p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant has been suspended four games for violating the league's Substance Abuse Policy, according to league sources. He has filed an appeal.

Arian FosterAug 27 02:22p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has been working out in Houston, and he's expected to return to the field in some facet by Week 2 to Week 4, [ More ]

Pat DevlinAug 27 10:32a

Free-agent QB Pat Devlin (Dolphins) signed with the Cleveland Browns Thursday, Aug. 27. OL Ryan Seymour was waived.

Connor BarthAug 26 08:53p

Free-agent PK Connor Barth (Broncos) agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Aug. 26, on a two-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

DeVante ParkerAug 26 04:23p

Miami Dolphins rookie WR DeVante Parker (foot) isn't sure if he'll be healthy enough in time for Week 1. He and the Dolphins don't want to have rushed return [ More ]

Brandon McManusAug 26 10:33a

Denver Broncos PK Brandon McManus won the kicking job as PK Connor Barth was released Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Connor BarthAug 26 10:33a

Denver Broncos PK Brandon McManus won the kicking job as PK Connor Barth was released Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Evan RoysterAug 26 10:13a

Atlanta Falcons RB Evan Royster (undisclosed) was waived/injured Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Rex GrossmanAug 26 09:23a

Free-agent QB Rex Grossman (Redskins) was signed by the Atlanta Falcons to a one-year, $1 million deal Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Taylor MaysAug 26 12:43a

The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent SS Taylor Mays (Bengals) Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Orlando ScandrickAug 26 12:43a

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee Tuesday, Aug. 25. An MRI confirmed the injury.

Michael VickAug 25 07:42p

Updating a previous report, free-agent QB Michael Vick (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Tuesday, Aug. 25. Financial terms were not disclosed. QB Bruce Gradkowski (finger) [ More ]

Evan MathisAug 25 06:13p

Free-agent OG Evan Mathis (Eagles) agreed to a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Jameis WinstonAug 25 04:33p

Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie QB Jameis Winston (ankle) suffered a sprained ankle Monday, Aug. 24, against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Lovie Smith still expects [ More ]

Josh JohnsonAug 25 02:53p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Josh Johnson was released Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Victor CruzAug 25 02:42p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf) doesn't know when he'll be able to return to practice as he continues to deal with inflammation in [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerAug 25 01:23p

Tennessee Titans backup QB Zach Mettenberger has performed at a high level in training camp and the preseason, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt laughed off a suggestion that the [ More ]

Bruce GradkowskiAug 25 12:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB Bruce Gradkowski (finger) suffered a dislocated finger on his left hand during the team's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers last weekend, according to [ More ]

Andre WilliamsAug 25 12:22p

New York Giants RB Andre Williams could overtake RB Rashad Jennings as the lead back sometime this season, maybe even to open the season. Williams has worked on his [ More ]

Mike EvansAug 25 09:13a

Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) isn't believed to have a serious hamstring injury. 'I talked to him and he didn't feel like it [ More ]

Jameis WinstonAug 24 11:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston completed eight of his 13 pass attempts for 90 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in the preseason game Monday, Aug. 24, against [ More ]

Doug MartinAug 24 11:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin rushed six times for 59 yards in the preseason game Monday, Aug. 24, against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mike EvansAug 24 09:12p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) left the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, Aug. 24, due to a strained hamstring.

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