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#pounditSunday, March 7, 2021

Akiem Hicks supports Rob Ryan in spat with Sean Payton over defense

Sean Payton Rob Ryan

Rob Ryan has a backer in his assertion that the New Orleans Saints stripped him of his power while defensive coordinator.

Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who played for the Saints under Ryan from 2013 through 2015, believes that Ryan was telling the truth when he claimed that he wasn’t allowed to run his own defense during his final two seasons as Saints defensive coordinator.

“Not to talk about New Orleans for the rest of this interview, but as a player in that system, you can see when power is taken away from a guy,” Hicks said Wednesday, via ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “It was evident in that situation and you saw what the turnout was because of it.

“I didn’t see the interview, but I do know this: I’ll forever and always have a lot of love for Rob Ryan, just because there’s nobody that’s going to shoot you straighter. He’s going to tell you how it is, he’s going to tell you how he feels, and you’re always going to understand his perspective on things, and I feel like that was taken away.”

In an interview last week, Ryan effectively blamed Payton and the Saints for not allowing him to run the defense he wanted to run. Naturally, Payton refuted that assertion, but if Ryan’s players were noticing, perhaps the guy has a point. When exchanges like this one were happening on the sideline, something clearly wasn’t right in New Orleans.


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