Now that the Saints new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is immersed in the Black and Gold’s fledgling 3-4 scheme, his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys seems like a distant memory. Except of course when the subject of injuries arises.
The Saints have lost three players who were supposed to be staples in Ryan’s system: Kenyon Coleman, Martez Wilson and Victor Butler. When asked Monday whether those absences would be hard to recover from, Ryan introduced New Orleans to his sense of humor:
“I’ll be honest with you: these injuries – they’re outstanding players, but hell, that’s nothing compared to what I’ve been used to,” Ryan said. “I’m used to a whole team being hurt, and then getting fired because of it, so whatever.”
In all seriousness, Ryan says he thinks the Saints defense is right where it needs to be and will recover from the three season-ending injuries.
Although the opening, 80-yard scoring drive by the Kansas City Chiefs during Friday night’s first pre-season game triggered an outpouring of concern from Who Dats, Ryan advised fans to look at the game in its entirety.
“That was on me. The tempo didn’t get to our players, it got to me, so that was disappointing. Giving up the two third downs, that’ll hurt you no matter who you are,” Ryan said. “I was very impressed with the way our guys handled adversity, the change of possession deep in our own territory. We responded well and there’s a lot of real positives and a lot of really good individual efforts.”
The Saints defense went on to hold Kansas City to just 215 total yards. Ryan was especially impressed with the performance of defensive end Cam Jordan, who many in New Orleans hope will be the solution to the pass rush problem for the Black and Gold.
“I thought Cam Jordan was fantastic,” Ryan said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a game with Cam, and I mean – I really am appreciating a relentless, try-hard guy that gives everything he’s got. He’s a special guy, and he’s going to be special in this defense as well.”
For those fans concerned about how much improvement the Rob Ryan system can generate from last season’s Steve Spagnuolo era, Jordan advises them to just keep watching.
“I am really excited about our D-Line. We have an immense amount of talent in it. I think it’s definitely raw, but it’s going to be fine by the time the season starts.”