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#pounditThursday, February 22, 2024

Rob Ryan on time with Saints: ‘I did a damn good job and got fired for it’

Sean Payton Rob Ryan

The New Orleans Saints had one of the worst defenses in the NFL over the past two seasons, and Rob Ryan was the man who ultimately got blamed for it. He doesn’t feel that blame was warranted, to say the least.

Rob Ryan and his twin brother Rex recently took part in a joint interview with Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB, and Rob described his last two seasons in New Orleans — during which the Saints finished 32nd and 28th in the NFL in points allowed — as a “waste.”

“I have always been a guy who is going to work my tail off, and I think I have always advanced the head coach’s plan,” he said. “But at the end of the day, the last two years in New Orleans were a waste of time for me.

“I need to be in a multiple system. I was hired to be in a multiple system in New Orleans, and I did a damn good job and got fired for it. I am more hungry now than I have ever been.”

Ryan repeatedly made reference to not being allowed to run the system he wanted to run, which is one that he reminds everyone worked quite well before he arrived in New Orleans. He says things started to go south before the 2014 season when a new scheme was forced on him.

“The only thing I regret is two years ago, when this [scheme change] was going to happen, I should have gone into Sean [Payton] and talked to him,” Ryan said. “Sean is a good person. I didn’t, and I just let it happen, so I deserve what I got.

“Look, I have been fired before. But I get pissed in New Orleans because I know I am better than that. I am a way better coach than I was allowed to be, and that’s just the truth. Oh, we are dead last in defense. Well, yeah, you are going to be dead last playing this bulls— defense. But it is my fault because I didn’t say anything. I never stood up and said, ‘F— you, I ain’t coaching this.’ I promise you I’d say it now.”

Not surprisingly, Payton disagrees with the notion that the Saints didn’t give Ryan control of his own defense.

“The idea that it wasn’t his defense, or he wasn’t in charge of it, is silly,” Payton told PFT Live on Friday morning. “When you’re struggling as bad as we’re struggling for two years, and some of the same problems keep coming up — you know, 10 guys on the field — those are things that just are hard to live with.”

Ryan and Payton got into several heated arguments on the sidelines (video here) during their time together. Now that Rob is coaching with his brother in Buffalo this season, he won’t be able to say he wasn’t given full control. Time will tell how that turns out.

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