New Orleans, La. - Sean Fazende shares his thoughts on the Saints hiring Rob Ryan.
I must admit when I heard the name last week, I cringed.
When I thought Rob Ryan, I thought Gregg Williams with longer hair, a bigger waistline and not quite the same resume'.
Same bravado. Same aggressive nature. Same bloodlines as Williams' mentor, Buddy Ryan.
I mean wasn't that the exact same thing that got the Saints in an absolute mess in the first place?
But then I realized: being like Williams isn't all that bad.
Yes, Williams was the architect of the scandal that took the NFL by storm last year. It was him that devised that infamous 'b' word system, then flipped on the team to save himself and essentially cost the Saints the 2012 season.
But he was also the man that helped transform the Saints from very good (2006-2008) to elite Super Bowl contender (2009-2011).
His defenses were never dominant, but they didn't need to be. All they needed do is play like the high octane offense: bold, confident and unafraid to make a mistake. They did that and the results spoke for themselves: 37 wins, four playoff victories and a Super Bowl.
If Ryan's addition can bring the parts they adored about Williams but avoid the parts they despised, then why shouldn't they be all for it? It helped produce the most successful run in team history.
But in there lies the challenge. It's not enough to just have Williams' personality. Williams didn't just talk, he brought it on the field and with the players. Ryan must do the same thing.
Obviously Sean Payton thinks he will. And given what he just lost, one would think he wouldn't make this call unless he had the ultimate confidence that Ryan and his style is what's best for his team.
So I've officially come around on Ryan. I think ultimately the 3-4 switch and his hiring will make the Saints defense better.