While interviewing Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune during Monday’s PFT Live, Jeff mentioned Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. And then something popped into my largely empty head.
With names constantly surfacing for the ongoing head-coaching carousel, why hasn’t Rob Ryan been mentioned for even an interview?
A finalist three years ago for the Panthers job that went to Ron Rivera, Ryan has engineered a stunning turnaround for the New Orleans defense, improving a unit that was historically bad under Steve Spagnuolo in 2012 by switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Along the way, Ryan lost several key players due to injury, but the defense continued to deliver.
To date, it hasn’t delivered an interview for Rex Ryan’s fraternal twin brother. It hasn’t even yielded a serious mention for an interview.
It’s unclear why. The obvious — and perhaps most accurate — reason is Rob’s appearance. From the Sons of Anarchy hair and beard to the snake-digesting-a-medicine-ball profile, few owners will be willing to embrace Rob Ryan as the man in charge of the team.
Some believe that Rex and Rob are very much alike, which could both help and hurt Rob given Rex’s periodic antics from past years. Hurting Rob even more could be the belief by some that the biggest difference is Rex “gets it,” making it easier for him to adapt and adjust to the realities of being a head coach in the NFL.
Regardless, Rob has had a direct hand in helping the Saints win their first playoff road game in franchise history. If they beat the Seahawks this weekend, any team with a vacancy may want to wait to fill it until getting a chance to talk to Rob Ryan.