According to Fox Sports Jay Glazer, the New Orleans Saints have hired Rex Ryan as their new defensive coordinator.
After Sean Payton was reinstated following his year-long suspension due to his involvement with Bounty-Gate, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was fired. After Spagnulo’s firing, Payton announced that the team would be moving from a 4-3 based defense to a 3-4, and the hunt for a coordinator began and Ryan was hired. Ryan is excited to be working with Payton, according to Yahoo! Sports.
“I am excited and thrilled to be joining the New Orleans Saints,” Ryan said in a statement released by the Saints. “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. I have a ton of respect for Mr. Benson, Mickey (Loomis) and the organization 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.”
Last season under Spagnulo, the Saints had the league’s worst defense giving up 440 yards per game and set a league record for most yards allowed in a single-season. They were 32nd in the league against the run and 31st in the league against the pass. Payton and Ryan are hoping that the move to a 3-4 will turn things around.
The Saints are hoping they can resign nose-tackle Sedrick Ellis, who will be an unrestricted free-agent this off season and would be great in a 3-4 defense. They also have high hopes that guys like Cameron Jordan and Brodrick Bunkley make a seamless adjustment to the new scheme. On the other hand, Will Smith is a more traditional tight end and might not fit as well within the 3-4 as some of the other guys. His size and skill set is better suited coming off the edge from a down stance than from a standing position off the line of scrimmage.
Ryan’s defense in Dallas was ranked 19th overall this past season, but a lot of his key defensive guys like Demarcus Ware, Sean Lee and Jay Ratliff missed a considerable amount of time due to injuries. The season before, the Cowboys defense was ranked 14th overall.
The Saints missed the post season for the first time since 2008 this last year and finished under .500 for the first time since 2007 this past year. If Ryan can improve the defense, the Saints can find themselves back in the post season after a down year surrounded by controversy.