If anyone in the NFL knows about fun, it’s Rob Ryan.
But the hair-flying, Mardi Gras-float riding Saints defensive coordinator wanted to make sure his players cut loose a little last year too.
Ryan told a group of coaches at a clinic at LSU that his first instruction to his Saints players last year was something along the lines of laissez les bons temps rouler.
Via Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, Ryan told his players they were “going to have fun at somebody else’s expense.”
“We’re going to kick the … out of people,” Ryan said. “ ‘The bottom line is we’re playing a kid’s game and we’re coaching a kid’s game. If you want to have fun, come with us.’ ”
They had a good time, bouncing back from having the worst statistical defense in league history the year before to fourth in the league in yards allowed, with Ryan leading the way after being fired by the Cowboys.
The Saints could be even better next year, after letting some older players go and bringing in Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd in free agency to pair with Kenny Vaccaro in the back of a much-improved secondary.
“He can hawk that ball, so it’s going to be fun to watch him,” Ryan said. ““I tell you what, to be honest with you I had no idea [about the pursuit of Byrd]. “I was just overwhelmed, so excited about it.
“They were smart about. They know players and they know who we need and went out and got the guy we really need and I’m just so excited about it. To get this young man, it’s so awesome for us.”
If he lives up to his contract, Ryan and the Saints could be having fun for years to come.