A big part of the reason why Rob Ryan is currently the defensive coordinator of the Saints is the team’s putrid work against the run last season.
Under former coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the Saints slumped to the league’s worst run defense. They allowed a league-high 147.6 rushing yards per game and allowed runners to gain nearly 5.2 yards per carry, the highest total allowed by any NFL defense since 2006. Even those without Ryan’s long experience as a professional football coach would be able to share his belief that Spagnuolo’s scheme wasn’t quite sound. The good news for the Saints is that Ryan says the issue’s already been dealt with this offseason.
“Honestly, I don’t think the scheme was very sound in the running game,” Ryan said, via Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “That’s not a fault of anybody else. I’ve just been around football my whole life. I know it wasn’t. We’re going to fix it. That’s definitely been fixed.”
The additions of players like nose tackle John Jenkins, safety Kenny Vaccaro and defensive end Kenyon Coleman — who Ryan calls “the best run defender in football as a 3-4 end” — are intended to help remedy the team’s poor performance in the ground game. If they can do that, it will free up more time for Ryan to address the unthreatening pass rush and ineffective secondary, which are the other two big reasons why Ryan’s in New Orleans.