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Sean Payton believes Rob Ryan will be a head coach


Earlier this week, we pointed out the curious failure of teams who are lining up a broad array of head-coaching candidates to give even a sniff to the man who has turned around a historically bad defense in New Orleans, despite changing from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and losing multiple players this year due to injury.

So we asked Saints coach Sean Payton whether he’s surprised defensive coordinator Rob Ryan hasn’t drawn any interest.  Here’s what he said, in an interview that was partially televised last night on NBCSN and that will be played in its entirety during Wednesday’s PFT Live.

“I think he’s going to be a head coach,” Payton said of Ryan.  “I think he’s got a personality that starts with being passionate about the game.  He’s also exceptional within the framework of the staff and I think as owners and General Managers look closely at candidates, there’s a handful of things that would be important and compatibility ranks right there at the top.

“So he’s someone that is very well liked within the building from the business side to the football side.  I think he’s got a great way about getting the players to play hard, making it exciting and putting them in the best positions possible and again communicating that message with his staff.  It’s been a team effort on that side of the ball and I think that here’s a guy that grew up around football and those experiences are invaluable.”

The knock on Ryan seems to come in part from his Sons-of-Anarchy-meets-Boys-of-Fall appearance, and in part from the belief that, as a head coach, he’d be Rex Ryan without a restrictor plate.

A finalist three years ago for the head-coaching job in Carolina, the notion that Rob Ryan hasn’t even made the exhaustive list in Washington seems odd, unless there was an incident between Buddy Ryan and Bruce Allen’s father, George, that we don’t know about.

While Rob Ryan may not be on anyone’s list right now, it’ll be interesting to see what happens if Ryan can put together a game plan that takes down the Seahawks in their own building on Saturday.

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60 Responses to “Sean Payton believes Rob Ryan will be a head coach”
  1. marcuswelby70 says: Jan 8, 2014 11:04 AM

    “Sean Payton believes Rob Ryan will be a head coach”…just not in the NFL.

  2. war27 says: Jan 8, 2014 11:06 AM

    1 year of being decent is all it takes I guess.

  3. nyjalleffingday says: Jan 8, 2014 11:06 AM

    Any team that would pass on Rob, or indeed, any coach because of the way he looks deserves to lose. Billy B dresses like a hobo and just generally looks awful and he’s one of the highest regarded head coaches of all time. Substance over appearance any day of the week.

  4. redmanalishi says: Jan 8, 2014 11:07 AM

    Unfortunately, someone will give him a chance. I’ll give the Ryan clan credit: they are brilliant, innovative defensive coordinators. But they are mouthy, tactless, classless, boorish, blowhards who bring disjunction to their organization. The apples don’t fall far from the tree.

  5. whatnojets says: Jan 8, 2014 11:07 AM

    He will be a head coach before end of 2014.

  6. nflofficeadmin says: Jan 8, 2014 11:08 AM

    Did you photoshop a flavor saver onto Payton’s chin Florio..

  7. jrutexas02 says: Jan 8, 2014 11:11 AM

    Would love for him to come to Miami.

  8. pftfan says: Jan 8, 2014 11:12 AM

    Count me in the group that thinks Rob Ryan will be a successful NFL head coach.

    When you consider that 30% of NFL head coaches are mediocre retreads who get turned over every three seasons (Lovie Smith, Ken Whisenhunt, Jim Schwartz, etc)…it should stand to reason that a defensive guru like Ryan can make it as head coach.

    Even his brother Rex proved that a defense-heavy personnel group (with no offense) can get you at least 6-8 wins a season. While that’s not Belichick, its still better than what most of those retreads like Shanahan can put together.

  9. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 8, 2014 11:12 AM

    I don’t know that he will be a HC by the end of 2014. We are in January and how many teams still have no clue who their HC will be? Too bad finding a HC isn’t as easy as figuring out that you don’t like the one you have.

  10. jerruhjones says: Jan 8, 2014 11:14 AM

    Translation…He won’t be my DC for long.

  11. cliverush says: Jan 8, 2014 11:15 AM

    His overly emotional displays on the sideline during games would cause many of the teams to shy away. Think of Marty Morningweig losing control during games due to a call made by the ref. It sometimes took him numerous plays to get his focus back on the field. Ryan is the same.

  12. mattyj1055 says: Jan 8, 2014 11:16 AM

    this guy would have had a HC job years ago if he’d just get a haircut.. whether you like it or not this is the real world and your appearance does matter when you are the face of a multimillion dollar company

  13. nfloracle says: Jan 8, 2014 11:18 AM

    Geez, without the Ryan brothers the NFL would be blander than milk toast.

    The NFL needs a coach who looks and acts like Rob Ryan. It’s way past time for those of us who prefer long hair and old sweat shirts to Men’s Warehouse suits and socks to have a seat at the NFL head coaching table.

    Give the man a job, billionaire owners looking for a head coach. There’s no way Rob could be any worse than a lot of the guys who are getting interviews right now and the chances are he’ll be a lot better… both in terms of leading a team and in being an interesting face of a franchise!

  14. boisestatewhodat says: Jan 8, 2014 11:20 AM

    Saints 27
    Seahawks 17


  15. Wisconsin77 says: Jan 8, 2014 11:21 AM

    If Al Davis was still around, he would have had a chance. He would have been the only one crazy enough to hire him.

  16. sb44champs says: Jan 8, 2014 11:23 AM

    redmanalishi says:
    Jan 8, 2014 11:07 AM
    Unfortunately, someone will give him a chance. I’ll give the Ryan clan credit: they are brilliant, innovative defensive coordinators. But they are mouthy, tactless, classless, boorish, blowhards who bring disjunction to their organization. The apples don’t fall far from the tree.
    Funny that you think you’re an expert on the Ryan family lol

  17. hockeykrishna says: Jan 8, 2014 11:23 AM

    It’s not about appearances, it’s about results, and Rob is just not going to get it done because he has only one style, and there is more than one style of player. Not every player needs a coach to be “one of the boys”.

    In addition, do you want an HC who is an emotional, reactionary basket case during the game, or one that can stay focused and thoughtful?

    One last thing, if you own a team and have seen the Rex Ryan circus, it has to color your thinking. You can say Rex went to two AFC championship games, but not with his team. Since he’s really “made his mark”, the results are pretty poor.

  18. LucaPaulzi says: Jan 8, 2014 11:24 AM

    He is a players coach. Any defense will play their hearts out for him. Will just need a OC with a good system. Rob already said this is the best offense he’s had to practice against. Rob will move on with Joe Lombardi as his OC. Lombardi has worked with P. Carmichal and S. Payton for six seasons. Pretty good coaching tree.

  19. willycents says: Jan 8, 2014 11:26 AM

    @mattyj1055 says

    read yesterday on this site in comments where he donates his hair to Locks for Love, the organization that provides wigs to children with cancer. Read the article the commentor refers to. Yeah, appearance trumps the public service record of the candidate….NOT. Any team would love the marketing opportunities of that type employee.

  20. dpdonny says: Jan 8, 2014 11:26 AM

    Get a haircut, lapband, and poof….HC.

    Sad, but prolly true.

  21. cospgsmadman says: Jan 8, 2014 11:27 AM

    The Raiders should have kept and made him HC.

  22. peopletrains says: Jan 8, 2014 11:28 AM

    For better or worse… I think his chances are tied to how well Rex does. He’s definitely be an entertaining head coach to have.

  23. johnnyjagfan says: Jan 8, 2014 11:29 AM

    The fact that I’m about to go shave and get a major haircut to begin my annual busy season in my business is enough for me to understand that even though I’m more comfortable looking less attended-to, it’s not my impression when I look in the mirror that counts. Works for the business of the NFL, too.

    I like RR as DC in Nola. He’s doing great. Let him enjoy one year of success before y’all try to crown his ass :).

  24. peopletrains says: Jan 8, 2014 11:30 AM

    Really? He hasn’t gotten a head coaching job because of not getting a haircut? It’s not 1950.

  25. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Jan 8, 2014 11:34 AM


  26. Youknowimright says: Jan 8, 2014 11:43 AM

    I know everyone is saying the appearance thing is not an issue, but it is. Straight edged billionaire owners want people at the head of their franchise that are in their mold and carry themselves in a PC way. He will need to conform slightly to take the next step.

  27. kingpel says: Jan 8, 2014 11:43 AM

    We’ve been saying this about Ray Horton and those ridiculous dreadlocks for years and people jump all over us.

  28. psj3809 says: Jan 8, 2014 11:44 AM

    Why are people going on about his haircut ? Forget that

    The reason he hasnt been a HC yet is because of what hes shown. Yeah hes had one good year with the Saints but their defense couldnt get any worse from the year before.

    With the Raiders he was poor, with the Browns he was poor, with the Cowboys he was average (Somehow Kiffin made the defense worse)

    He hasnt done anything decent since leaving the Patriots. The one year the Raiders defense was top 5 that was deceptive, it was only top 5 during Art Shells nightmare year because teams were basically running out the clock by the 2Q as they had the game won already.

    Ryans had one good year which was 2013 thats it, if he had a top 10 defense for a few years in a row then i’ll join the ‘Rob is great’ fan club but he hasnt. He bounces around the league getting sacked, the Saints are his 4th team since leaving the Pats

  29. discountdoublecheck says: Jan 8, 2014 11:50 AM

    boisestatewhodat says:Jan 8, 2014 11:20 AM

    Saints 27
    Seahawks 17


    You did this same exact stuff prior to the MNF matchup and we all saw how that turned out.

    That game has nothing to do with this one certainly, but seriously…again? Why not just watch the game and enjoy? Not like these proclamations and victory guarantees have anything to do with the actual outcome anyway.

    Best of luck to your boys. Should be a great game.

  30. dwarftosser says: Jan 8, 2014 11:55 AM

    As long as he’s not head coach of my team, I’m all for it.

  31. craigkintexas says: Jan 8, 2014 12:02 PM

    When pigs fly.

  32. pftfan says: Jan 8, 2014 12:04 PM

    Does ANYONE really think any owner gives a crap what his head coach looks like?

    Jack Del Rio looks like a presidential candidate with his sharp suits and $400 haircut, and he hasn’t been able to land a head coach gig in 3 years.

    Conversely, Bill Belichick wears that goofy earmuff/headband that covers up a Lemon Tree comb-over and couples it with a sleeve-less hoodie (!) and all 32 NFL teams would DIE to employ him.

    Stop it with all this “he should look the part” nonsense…this ain’t your normal office job.

  33. nowillrepeat says: Jan 8, 2014 12:08 PM

    RR is the man.

    Has every characteristic to be a successful head coach.

    His players and colleagues love him, and he obviously knows what he is doing from a defensive standpoint.

    Makes me sad, cause I dont want him leaving N.O.

  34. bennyb82 says: Jan 8, 2014 12:14 PM

    It does seem a bit unsettling that a guy’s appearance can make all the difference in regards to getting a job. How many talented people in all professions are out of work because of how our eyes have been conditioned? Probably a lot. Then again, there is probably something important about having a physically fit leader to give instructions especially in a physical sport.

  35. vavikingfan says: Jan 8, 2014 12:18 PM

    He wouldn’t be any worse than lots of others. He probably got fired in Dallas for taking camera time away from Jerry.

  36. raiders85 says: Jan 8, 2014 12:20 PM

    1. Year as a good dc and pft pushes him for a head coach id rather have someone like Ray Horton but then again i don’t wait all week for a Ryan press conference

  37. eatitfanboy says: Jan 8, 2014 12:23 PM

    LucaPaulzi says:
    Jan 8, 2014 11:24 AM
    He is a players coach. Any defense will play their hearts out for him.

    Is that why in his entire career his defenses have finished in the top half of rankings twice?

  38. 87hollywoodhorn says: Jan 8, 2014 12:28 PM

    I figure you gotta wait one year and see if this things for real. Because Gregg Williams sure made a big splash the year he arrived, but by the end of the 2010 season the league had that dude and his zero blitzes figured, and we started getting trashed.
    Theres a chance that our D benefits from some kinda novelty. Saints D line is the most stacked its been in ten years though, so youve gotta like that.

  39. raiderlyfe510 says: Jan 8, 2014 12:30 PM

    If Dennis Allen could be an Head Coach….anybody can.

  40. kev86 says: Jan 8, 2014 12:31 PM

    I believe Payton is already growing tired of this guy on the sideline.

  41. missingsock215 says: Jan 8, 2014 12:34 PM

    More and more offensive coaches are being hired. The league had an all-time high in points scored this season. Hiring a defense coach is probably not the best move in 2014 or 2015 until some rules change. Offense is the way to go these days.

  42. mogogo1 says: Jan 8, 2014 12:44 PM

    I’ve never really liked either of the Ryan boys, but I give them tons of credit for paying their dues. Both Rob and Rex spent years at the college level, including smaller schools, before getting jobs in the NFL. Then years more as NFL assistants before getting coordinator or head coaching jobs. Nobody ever gave them anything even though their father was a great defensive coach. Stark contrast between their careers and a Kyle Shanahan.

  43. flannlv says: Jan 8, 2014 12:45 PM

    I have to laugh at people who criticize RR past defenses and their rankings. Look at the teams where he’s been a DC. Only one team in all that time had a decent offense. Oak, CLE and Dallas? Please. Jurrah fired RR and look at where that defense ended up this year. I for one hope the league continues to shun RR and he stays in NOLA for many years to come.

  44. LucaPaulzi says: Jan 8, 2014 12:46 PM


    Your insignificant.

  45. jimmyt says: Jan 8, 2014 12:51 PM

    redmanalishi says:
    Jan 8, 2014 11:07 AM
    Unfortunately, someone will give him a chance. I’ll give the Ryan clan credit: they are brilliant, innovative defensive coordinators. But they are mouthy, tactless, classless, boorish, blowhards who bring disjunction to their organization. The apples don’t fall far from the tree.

    Well Ma’am, excuse the rest of the World, must be your time of the month. What brings a frustrated, disgruntled young lady like yourself to a football site?

  46. war27 says: Jan 8, 2014 1:10 PM

    The comments here are proof most fans don’t have a clue. They buy into the hype.

    Look at the RESULTS this guy HASN’T had at many stops all over the league.

    How he gets DC jobs is because of his dad’s rep. He isn’t even half of what his brother is.

    Stop buying the hype, this guy is an average DC with average results.

  47. danoinny says: Jan 8, 2014 1:16 PM

    Look, he and all the Ryans were all brilliant coaches of defense, can’t be argued. Buddy however showed himself to be somewhat of a cancer at the top of an organization. Rex seems to be the most suited to be a HC and has done the Jets well. His optimism and cheerleading has created a positive culture there and it has shown results. Rob doesn’t project the same profile: it is his sideline demeanor and his nonconformist appearance, though there isn’t anything outwardly wrong with it. This year also is a year for offense in the game and offensive coaches (hello again Whisenhunt even though you call a game like chicken%^t). So together (is that enough?) he projects more risk than benefit against the other candidates, maybe will always.

  48. musicman495 says: Jan 8, 2014 1:26 PM

    I am happy to admit I was as wrong about Rob Ryan as most of these commenters. I always thought Buddy was a complete jerk, and Rob’s bluster in Dallas really turned me off. But the fact is, Rob was a force of nature that filled a vacuum created by weak head coaches like Garrett in Dallas and Mangini in Cleveland. But he has become a total team player – almost low key – with a strong head coach in Sean Payton. It is possible that Rob will turn out to be a better coordinator than head coach. The league has a rich history of those on both sides of the ball. But Mike Florio is right that Rob deserves a chance to show whether, as a head coach, he is the next Gregg Williams, or the next Bill Bellichick.

  49. grantsbuds says: Jan 8, 2014 1:29 PM

    Sean Payton believes Rob Ryan will be a head coach

    ……in Canada.

  50. conormacleod says: Jan 8, 2014 1:35 PM

    Love all the Ryan’s! Very entertaining. Wouldn’t want any of them to coach my team. I’d prefer the focus be on the field.

  51. jgedgar70 says: Jan 8, 2014 1:36 PM

    “The knock on Ryan seems to come in part from his Sons-of-Anarchy-meets-Boys-of-Fall appearance, and in part from the belief that, as a head coach, he’d be Rex Ryan without a restrictor plate.”

    I don’t think the appearance is as big a detriment as his antics. One thing Rob, Rex and Buddy all hae in common is the belief in their own greatness. They all love to listen to themselves talk and think the world revolves around them. Buddy was fine as long as he had all those teams loaded with Hall of Famers, not so good when superior coaching was needed to compensate for less talent. Rex hasn’t done anything the last couple of years. Rob has been up and down as a DC. All of them have massive egos and not enough results to justify them. It’s no surprise to me that Rob isn’t getting much attention for the head coach openings.

  52. tebow420 says: Jan 8, 2014 1:46 PM

    Ryan brothers face off in Super Bowl XLIX

    Jets vs Redskins

  53. metrocritical says: Jan 8, 2014 1:57 PM

    While Rob Ryan may have the makings of a head coach, he also carries the possibility of being a head ache. Long hair or not, the Ryan family has a history of histrionics without delivering the ultimate payoff. Most organizations don’t want their HC to be the show or the side show. Teams want high levels of success and low levels of distraction and the Ryans’ collective track record is the reverse.

    Side note to pftfan: Of the “retreads” you listed, only Smith has gotten a second HC gig, Whisenhunt is on some short list and Schwartz looks like he’s headed back to coordinator where he belongs. That’s hardly a list of retreads.

  54. bobsnygiants says: Jan 8, 2014 2:03 PM

    I like to see Rob Ryan with the NY FOOTBALL GIANTS.

  55. ilovefoolsball says: Jan 8, 2014 2:18 PM

    RE: appearance
    Gary Kubiak and Shanahan both look like candidates for the US senate yet they both were fired. Just goes to show you that looks might prevent you from getting the job but they certainly won’t keep it for you.

  56. jgslamdunk says: Jan 8, 2014 2:42 PM

    No Vaccaro, Greer, PRob, and Keenan Lewis goes down vs Eagles. Top four DB’s out.

    No Vilma, Victor Butler & W Smith (both to IR in pre-season), and P Haralson goes down vs Eagles. 4 of 8 lb’s (2 starters) out.

    Kenyon Coleman on IR in preseason.

    That’s 6 starters and 3 important role players out, and we’re still quite competitive and able to hold the potent Eagles offense down. Nice job from Ryan in NOLA.

    See you at the CLUB for a Rolling Rock, coach!

  57. 0ffsides says: Jan 8, 2014 2:46 PM

    His appearance is a huge detractor. Who’d want to put that slob out as the head of their franchise?

  58. mccoyfish says: Jan 8, 2014 2:59 PM

    This haircut / appearance nonsense is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. He has long white hair… Seriously?!

    NFL franchises are dumb (cough cough oakland) but they’re not that dumb. I’m sure there are much less retarded reasons that he isn’t being considered.

  59. CKL says: Jan 8, 2014 3:32 PM

    kev86 says:
    Jan 8, 2014 12:31 PM
    I believe Payton is already growing tired of this guy on the sideline.
    Huh..interesting. One of the things I love the most about SP is that he’s a strong personality who is clearly secure enough to hire other like people and help them flourish. He’s just like BB that way. Maybe that’s why he and BB are friends. When the Saints hired Rob, I thought immediately how perfect Rob would be with Sean. They are both confident and aggressive playcallers whose players love them and more importantly they get the most out of their players.

    I agree appearance can be important in some positions, I just couldn’t care less when it comes to football coaches (or players for that matter).

  60. kmartin173 says: Jan 8, 2014 6:28 PM

    Not going to be anytime soon if Seattle light his defense up again on national TV as it did last time.

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