Rob Ryan deserves a chance to interview for head-coaching jobs

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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.

103 responses to “Rob Ryan deserves a chance to interview for head-coaching jobs

  1. Yah, uh, Rex ruined any chance he may have had. He’s a really good DC though, but I’m not sure he’s as good as Rex. Just like teams don’t want a too honest Mike Zimmer, they REALLY don’t want a blow hard as their HC. Don’t get me wrong I’m a Rex and Rob fan, but no team will fall on that sword.

  2. Equally impressive from the Rob Ryan file is what happened to the Dallas defense immediately following his termination — “Doomsday” (the 2013 version) was *historically* bad.

  3. or because this is the first time in his career his defense has ranked in the top half of the league.

    and also because there’s are a lot of important factors that go into running a football team than just how you perform on one side of the ball, which, again, he hasn’t done exceptionally well over the years statistically.

  4. Rob might also be very comfortable where he is at. He was in a tough spot not too long ago and the Saints were the only team that was there for him when he needed somebody. Maybe it’s not so bad working with Sean Payton and that’s just fine with him.

  5. There needs to be an Irsay rule, where every team needs to interview a fat slob for their HC position.

    There are too few fat slobs as HC in the NFL! Not a single fat slob was hired last year to be a HC.

  6. I agree. The problem is the hair. It is ridiculous. More specifically, if he cut it he would get serious consideration, making his refusal to do so all the weirder — and reflective of some sort of judgment deficiency. I understand the need to distinguish yourself from your brother, but it’s costing you millions a year.

  7. Yea!!! Let’s give Rob a HC job because he’s Rex’s twin!!

    …Or maybe not everyone is cut out to be a HC. Maybe…just maybe…some people are better off being an assistant

  8. He would definitely give headlines to a struggling franchise. I would guess, as with Rex, all he would need is a steady offensive guy to run the offense. His defense would probably continue to be one of the league’s best.

  9. While we are looking at previous hot candidates that are not being mentioned, What happened to Gregg Williams?

  10. With all the hype the NFL made off of the Harbowl last year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them push teams to interview Rob Ryan and/or John Pagano. Brothers coaching in the NFL is a storyline the media salivates over.

  11. As a Saints fan, I would hate to lose him. But he has done a remarkable job, especially considering the number of starters he has lost to injury this year. The players seems to love him and play hard for him. As for the other commenters – I am always a little taken aback at how hateful people’s comments are. Anonymity seems to bring out the worst in some people.

  12. wow, this is just ENOUGH!. Rex kept his job on some totally lucky end of game stuff against teams like the BUCS. and because he has 1 year on his deal, and they would rather suck and pay him than hire someone else while paying him to suck

    as for Rob, he has what, 1 playoff berth in 11 years?

    and he deserves a head coaching gig?

    why is it that doing well as a coordinator means you can handle the job of head coach? its totally different, he would be a total failure as a HC, he has even less control than rex.

  13. Looks like a Viking to me!
    Well, sort of a fancy Viking who spends most of his time curling his hair when he’s not in the banquet hall…

  14. The hair is more than likely an impediment to getting a head coaching job, but I don’t think most people know that he grows it long and then cuts it for Locks of Love. Started doing this close to a decade ago after one of his daughter’s elementary school classmates developed cancer and lost her hair from chemotherapy. He’s a good dude.

  15. Anyone in need of a good laugh should go look at the comments on the stories regarding Rob Ryans job search/ hiring last summer. All of the PFT know it alls singing a different tune now. I guess all you trolls have reaaallll short memory spans.

  16. Rob would make a fine head coach and, more importantly, would be a beat writer’s dream.

    I know I’d rather tune in to a Rob Ryan presser than anything Jim Caldwell or Ken Whisenhunt might have to say.

  17. Granted he’s done a great job at NO but the defense was so bad the year before he couldn’t go anywhere but up.

    With Cleveland he did nothing, same for Oakland and Fallas he didn’t do a great job either (not as bad as Kiffins year I must admit)

    But people are talking about him like he’s had 5 straight years with a top 10 defense or something. One good year with the Saints and suddenly he’s a genius?

  18. He doesn’t present himself as a possible head coach. Owners want a head coach that not only knows football, but can also professionally represent the franchise. His act would grow old real quick.

  19. He was great in Dallas. Without losing literally all of their linebackers they would have finished with much better numbers. Jerry Jones is a moron. Clevelands defense was good with him too. It’s not his fault Cleveland never has an offense.

    There’s nothing I’d like to see more than Jerry Jones begging him to come back as head coach. There’s no chance Rob Ryan would take that job.

  20. I think he would be a great fit with Washington, but also a good fit with Detroit.

    Washington has playmakers on D and a QB he is stuck with on O. He hires a good OC like Norv Turner and stays out of the way for the most part. He would accept the crap job of redskins just to be able to get a job as HC.

    Lions are a great for other then they run a 4-3. But I’m sure he could work wonders with that D-Line and again, a team with a good offense and a protected QB. Rex gave a mediocre Jets team a big boost to go far in the playoffs for a few years. Lions are such a better team he could go far. And in Detroit, no one is complaining about this guy if he wins playoffs games in 2 of his first 5 season.

  21. Nooooooooooooooo, stay Rob please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Top 5 offense and Top 5 defense… not too many teams can say that!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. I don’t blame him for not cutting his hair. I finally grew mine back and quit wearing a tie after looking like some corporate yuppie for years. If my employer doesn’t like it they can fire me and I’ll take my skill set someplace else.

  23. Drew Brees wants an explanation.

    Tiki Barber is flabbergasted.

    Jim Irsay is drunk tweeting.

    Jerry Jones is 90% plastic.

  24. Only if the Raiders higher him and he wears an eyepatch with his long hair then it’s a deal.

  25. A good coordinator doesn’t necessarily make for a good head coach — something the Vikings have discovered with its last two coaches.

  26. Too many ridiculous things have already come out of his mouth for anyone to take him seriously as a HC candidate.

  27. Al should have went with Rob Ryan back in the day instead of Tom Cable. Ryan was loved by the players and had an attitude and outlook which matched the Raiders.

    Don’t know if it was Al who wanted him out or if Cable felt threatened having Ryan around, but it was a missed opportunity to get a great Raider fit as a HC.

  28. There needs to be an Irsay rule, where every team needs to interview a fat slob for their HC position.

    There are too few fat slobs as HC in the NFL! Not a single fat slob was hired last year to be a HC.

    Did you forget Andy Reid, or Chip Kelly, both 350 lb wonders.

  29. “…cuts it for Locks of Love. Started doing this close to a decade ago after one of his daughter’s elementary school classmates developed cancer and lost her hair from chemotherapy. He’s a good dude.”

    Good info Booker1974.

    The debate can go on forever regarding his coaching, but he is aces off the field for doing this.

  30. No “real” HC will ever work for Jerry Jones. He picks Garrett’s staff, schemes, players, and who knows what else is going on behind the scenes (I’d suspect a lot more micromanaging). Most head coaches, err people, wouldn’t choose to work for someone like that. The players never say anything because he writes their checks. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

  31. whatnojets says:
    Jan 6, 2014 2:42 PM

    I don’t see Rob Ryan’s name being mentioned anywhere?!?!? What gives???!!!



    Report comment

  32. Rob just needs to keep doing what he is doing and the jobs will come flying at him. IMO he’ll be the Saints next head coach if he is in New Orleans in four years when Sean’s contract is in its last year.

    NOLA loves this guy.

  33. No costume required, just place a patch on the right eye.

    Seriously, he’s what the Raiders need and desire, someone with a passion and fire in the belly. He may be bombastic, but we all know the guy is a defensive maverick, win or lose.

    We laughed at Belicheck and Carroll, sometimes you need to find a home, and the Raiders may be a nice landing spot for a guy that’s been in the league since ’89 without ever getting the head job.

  34. Before this year, this was his defensive record

    Year NFL rank (yards) NFL rank (pts)
    Cowboys 2012 24 19
    Cowboys 2011 16 14
    Browns 2010 22 13
    Browns 2009 31 21
    Browns 2008 26 16
    Raiders 2007 22 26
    Raiders 2006 3 18
    Raiders 2005 27 25
    Raiders 2004 30 31
    Average 22 20
    What’s so great about this ?

  35. It is partially his appearance and partially his last year in Dallas. Ray Horton is a great defensive coach who should be interviewing but he was sporting corn rows. He decided to change that with when he moved to the Browns and I expect will be a head coach soon. He should be anyways.

    Being a head coach is a bit like being a Vice President of a large company. You will be the face of that company and your appearance does matter, at least until you prove you can win. After that you can do what you want. Sort of like bit from Bull Durham with the fungus on the shower shoes. Win 20 in the show and you are colorful, until than you are a slob. Win a Super Bowl and you can be as fat and ugly as you like, until than we don’t want to look at you.

  36. The Dude deserves a shot ! Can’t believe there have been this many comments without one “The Dude” reference! Seriously whatever team lands him as a HC the beat writers in that town would be able to put away the little blue pill for awhile. He would be great entertainment, just like his brother. And just like his brother he would take a team to nowhere. Where you goin? Nowhere.

  37. to the stats geeks, i’m glad you like fantasy football, but don’t they have their own forum? If one looks at the talent he was coaching in those various stops, i think the stats are self expanatory, although i’m sure watching football doesn’t interest you….

    rob is a very good d coordinator. while jj offered injuries as an excuse for monte kiffin this year, there were just as many or more injuries last year. rob was running street free agents out there in wk 17.

    prior to being dc rob was linebackers coach coach with new england. there, of course, the stats were terrific. so if he’s good enough to work for bill belichick, and then mangini took him to cleveland, he should be good enough for the message board experts.

    as to the question why he hasn’t gotten a sniff, it’s mainly due to buddy and rex’s head coaching performance. while i loved buddy, it was eventually apparent that his propensity to divide the team between offense and defense was not ever going to allow him to be successful as a head coach. and thus far, rex (who i also like) hasn’t proven he can find an offense to go with his defense.

  38. Someone who cares so little about their fitness and appearance sends a signal to NFL team owners. He just doesn’t exude “leadership” with his demeanor.

    If the guy WANTS to be a HC, he will have to address that. If he doesn’t.. more power to him to continue to act, look, speak whatever way he wants. I have no issue with it.

  39. Outside of this season, his career as a DC has been the very picture of mediocrity.

    Yes, the Cowboys D was much worse this year, but they were still only 19th last year. This is, I believe, the first or maybe second season a Rob Ryan defense has finished in the top half of the league.

    Put that together with all the nonsense that goes along with hiring a Ryan, and is it really that surprising?

  40. Listen, man.. As a Vikings fan, after the Leslie Frazier debacle, we’ll take anyone competent in ANYTHING.

  41. How this guy continues to be employed completely baffles me.

    His defenses have been mediocre during his best seasons and downright terrible during the rest.

    And to claim that the reason is that he’s ALWAYS had terrible to mediocre personnel is an idiotic claim that has no relationship to reality.

    The guy is a walking sideshow and will never be any more than an average to below average coordinator.
    Never a head coach. Not a chance.

  42. Imagine this loudmouth moron as your HC? His father was a loudmouth and so is his brother. No class.

  43. You guys commenting on his looks sound like a bunch of girls in high school. I don’t care what a potential HC looks like if he can get his team to buy into his system and play like there’s no tomorrow. That’s what he down in NOLA.

  44. It’s one of the few times that people actually help the Saints which they despise by talking trash about the coach.
    I’m sure that New Orleans wants you to keep the bad mouthing coming, it just means they get to keep him as their stellar Defensive Coordinator.

  45. We all know that what constitutes “professional behavior” in the NFL varies greatly from the typical business world.

    However, nobody wants this loud-mouth being the face to the franchise.

  46. Judging by the amount of camera time this guy gets during games, you would think he is the head coach. Last year, he was on camera more than the red head guy, and this year he is on camera more than the pucker lipped guy. No other DC in the league gets as much camera time than Ryan.

  47. One good season as a coordinator shouldn’t shouldn’t qualify someone as a head coach. Just look at Gus Bradley in Jacksonville and Dennis Allen in Oakland.

  48. Rob Ryan is too busy to worry about crappy HC opportunities….He’s got a good gig with SP….Seattle coaches will have plenty of time to interview after Saturday! Boom! Who Dat!!

  49. He does deserve to be interviewed.

    If people are so worried about bad hair and a beer gut, they would do well to remember names like Madden, Shell, Denny Green , etc.

  50. I hope he ends up in Miami or Buffalo. Him, Footboy, and Belicheck in one Division woukd be great.

  51. I think a big reason is that he runs a 3-4, and not all teams will buy into that defense. I know that the Lions will not look at him because they intend to stay a 4-3 per Martin Mayhew.

  52. If Ryan schemes a game to stop The Seahawks then this may change. Hope folks in the coach hiring biz ain’t that wishy-washy. He do well to watch Sean Peyton another year or two. Pile up success then pick the best open coaching job when you’re ready.

  53. Buddy Ryan – great DC, got a head job, only cared about the defense, team ultimately failed.

    Rex Ryan – good DC, got a head job, only cared about the defense (3 OCs in the last 3 years!), team ultimately failed.

    Rob Ryan – good DC…

    See a pattern here?

  54. Ironically I think Rob Ryan has conducted himself more professionally than his brother (though that’s not a tough contest to win)

    Never have I seen Rob Ryan publicly guarantee that a young inexperienced QB with a fragile psyche and confidence issues will win the Super Bowl.


    Never has Rob Ryan posted sexually explicit videos of he and his wife to YouTube. Never has he had the jersey of one of his players tattooed on a rendition of his wife (that we know of)

    The list goes on and on. And Rob isn’t exactly a bad DC either.

  55. Maybe because Rob Ryan is overrated as a coordinator. It didn’t win him that many games in Dallas or Cleveland and it’s been the offense (as always) that has carried the Saints defense.

  56. All you GQ models that are criticizing Rob Ryan for his appearance should just chill. I’d like to see pictures of all of you. I’m sure you all are the picture of health and quite fetching. Morons.

  57. Yeah guys, I don’t think it’s his hair. The NFL is a 9 billion/year industry. A shaggy haircut and beer belly isn’t going to prevent someone from getting hired if he could take a team all the way.

  58. I would become a fan of any team that would hire him just for the post game interviews. The guy is a serious hot head and it’s been way too long since we’ve seen a coach meltdown in the NFL. Could you imagine if he was the Cleveland head coach when their front office traded Richardson. That would have been priceless!

  59. For you people that have a basal need to criticize and insult people, please listen closely: Rob Ryan is a good man, a great DC, and a perfect fit for New Orleans and the Saints.

    He is humble to the media, wonderful towards the fans, and is known for buying rounds to local fans in his favorite watering holes.

    Look at the teams he coached with, and maybe they just didn’t have the talent or leadership to excel as he has done down here.

    Shame on you haters, calling him a slob and worse.

    We love us some Rob down here on the bayou and hope he stays. For along time.

    Go Saints!
    Destrehan Dave

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