It’s been a long time in the making, but currently unemployed defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has officially interviewed with the St. Louis Rams for their opening at the same position. Rumors have had Ryan coaching the Rams for nearly a week now, but the outspoken defensive guru had dispelled any chatter about the position. Now that he has visited the facility on record, it’s time to dissect if the club would really benefit from hiring Ryan to run its defense in 2013.
During his time with the Dallas Cowboys, Ryan took over a defense that finished 23rd in the league in total defense the year before he arrived and moved them to 14th in 2011 and 19th this past season. The rebuttal from Ryan defenders is that the Dallas defense was riddled with injuries in 2012, but the fact of the matter is Ryan’s impact was actually the opposite of improvement.
For the Rams, their turnaround in just one season without a defensive coordinator was far more striking than Ryan’s track record. The team went from 22nd in 2011 to 14th this past season with Jeff Fisher and company calling the shots. They also tied for the league lead in sacks with 52 on the season after finishing with 39 in the middle of the pack a season earlier.
All of this progress came in a 4-3 system. If Ryan were to come to St. Louis, chances are he would attempt to force the 3-4 alignment on their personnel. Usually teams change things that aren’t working in order to get more pressure on the quarterback, but the Rams actually need to just keep things simple and continue to grow as a team. Both defensive ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn recorded double-digit sack numbers in 2012 and neither one fits the stand-up outside linebacker mold that they would be asked to adopt if Ryan were brought on board.
If the franchise knows what is best for it they will decide to stay away from Ryan. His brash, boisterous style is the last thing this young and developing roster needs. The Rams should continue their search for a coordinator within the Fisher coaching tree and stay as far away from the loudmouth Ryan forbidden fruit tree as possible.
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