The Saints remain extremely popular in New Orleans. The team’s latest moves may not be.
Coach Sean Payton officially has announced that Rob Ryan will become the team’s new defensive coordinator, and that Stan Kwan will serve as the assistant special-teams coordinator.
“I’m pleased the opportunity has presented itself for us to be able to add both Rob Ryan and Stan Kwan to our coaching staff,” Payton said in a team-issued release. “In regards to Rob, we have experience in preparing and playing against his defenses and they’ve always been challenging in terms of the different looks and pressures that they feature. We’ve had the chance to visit with each other and talk about our visions for our team and I’m excited about moving forward as we prepare for the 2013 season. Rob is enthusiastic about joining our team and getting right to work. Stan is a veteran coach that understands all nuances of the special teams games and will work closely with Greg McMahon. He has a wealth of knowledge and I believe he will be a good fit on our staff.”
It’s not Kwan that will cause local concern. Many will view Rob Ryan as a 3-4 version of Gregg Williams. Brash, loud, abrasive, and quite possibly trouble.
That said, Saints fans loved Williams’ bravado until the word “bounty” first flowed from the league office (or at least until Williams’ defense stunk in 2011). If Payton can ensure Ryan won’t do anything that will get the franchise in trouble, Ryan brings the type of swagger that the Saints enjoyed when Williams was running the show.
Still, there’s a delicate balance that will need to be maintained, and there’s nothing delicate about Rob Ryan. At times during his two-year stint in Dallas, it seemed like he was trying to take the place over.
In fairness to Ryan, his defense in Cleveland took the Superdome over in 2010, beating the Saints 30-17 in the first season after New Orleans won its first championship.
From Payton’s perspective, his willingness to not make a safe hire shows that he’s highly motivated to win more championships. In that regard, fans should be encouraged — and they should realize that Payton is prepared to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself.
At least not the bad kind of history.