The New Orleans Saints were a train wreck on defense last year. The unit finished at, or near the bottom of many statistical categories, and no doubt played a big part in the team missing the playoffs for the first time in four years.
So what do teams do when they need immediate help? They hit up the free agent market, and Rob Ryan just happened to be out there on account of someone having to get chopped in Big-D. Ryan didn’t deserve to lose his job, but, it happened. After it seemed he would sign with the St. Louis Rams, the deal fell through, and the Saints came calling.
While Rob Ryan isn’t the best defensive coordinator of all time, he’s still pretty damn good at his job. Ryan is an old school coach, who’s been around the block a time or two with his 3-4 defense. Talk about a shot in the arm for the Saints’ defense. Just with his attitude and proven system, Ryan will get the Saints’ defense back to respectability in 2013. I just don’t think there’s anyway possible with Ryan in charge, that the defense can get any worse. Odds are that the unit moves up to at least the middle of the pack next season.
The Saints brought in a familiar face for Ryan on Thursday, when they signed LB Victor Butler to a two-year deal. Butler was a reserve for Ryan in Dalllas, and obviously knows the system. It’s very possible he could start, and at minimum, he should see a good amount of field time as a pass-rusher. If the Saints can get Ryan even more pass-rushers, he will be in business.
Some are speculating the team could target Barkevious Mingo with the No. 15 spot in the draft, as he could come in right away and be a contributor in the pass rush game. Regardless, they’re likely to target defensive players early and often in April’s draft.
Fans should be very excited about what Rob Ryan will bring to the table in Nola. With even minimal improvement, the team should easily find itself back in serious playoff contention next year.
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