NFL: New Orleans Saints bring in Rob Ryan as Sean Payton returns to coaching
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: February 10, 2013 1:51pm
One of the first jobs for returning New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has been to hire Rob Ryan as his new defensive coordinator, as he looks to get his team back into the play-offs after last year's disappointment.
With Payton unable to coach his team after being suspended for the team's bounty scandal, the Saints failed to make the play-offs after three straight post-season appearances.
Quarterback Drew Brees still led one of the best offences in the game, but the worst total defence in the NFL meant they were unable to make a play-off charge.
The outspoken Ryan, brother of the New York Jets' similarly vocal head coach Rex, was fired by the Dallas Cowboys in the fall-out from another disappointing season for them, but famously claimed he would find another job 'in five minutes'.
He looked to be going to St Louis before the Rams pulled the plug, but now he has landed the job with what could be a resurgent Saints team in the coming season.
"In regards to Rob, we have experience in preparing and playing against his defences and they've always been challenging in terms of the different looks and pressures that they feature," Payton said.
"We've had the chance to visit with each other and talk about our visions for our team and I'm excited about moving forward as we prepare for the 2013 season.
"Rob is enthusiastic about joining our team and getting right to work. Stan is a veteran coach that understands all nuances of the special teams games and will work closely with Greg McMahon. He has a wealth of knowledge and I believe he will be a good fit on our staff."
Even with the worst overall defence in the league, Brees and the Saints won seven games without their head coach, and with Payton back and the entire team having a point to prove they will be fired up to bounce back in style.
Ryan may have an easier task than before in his previous jobs in Dallas, Cleveland and Oakland, as his defence will not need to win most games given the potency of the Saints' high-powered offence.
"I have had the opportunity to get to know Sean Payton and his staff a bit better recently and I am excited about joining the team," Ryan said.
"I have a ton of respect for (owner Tom) Benson, (general manager) Mikey (Loomis) and the organisation and I'm ready to get to work on all facets of the game. This is a great opportunity and we're getting started right away."