For their Week 15 match-up, the New Orleans Saints will play on the road against the St. Louis Rams for a chance to improve to 11-3 and move closer to clinching the NFC South and the No. 2 playoff seed in the NFC. A side story for this game is that Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will get a second opportunity this season to play against a team that he worked for—kind of.
After being relieved of his duties and fired from the Dallas Cowboys by owner Jerry Jones at the end of last season, Ryan was looking for work. He famously quipped that he would be out of work “for like, five minutes” shortly after being let go.
It did not take long for Ryan to find a spot. That position was not originally with the Saints, however. He had tentatively agreed to join the Rams under head coach Jeff Fisher. One day prior to him being announced as the defensive coordinator for St. Louis, however, New Orleans’ coach Sean Payton fired former Saints’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo after he returned from his year long suspension following a disastrous defensive outing in 2012.
Ryan talked about the timeline of these events in his Friday press conference with the media.
“I knew I was going to get one, wherever it was going to be. I was going to get one because I believe in myself. Then, whatever it was, a week, two weeks later, I got a call to interview here. And this is the situation I was dreaming of,” Ryan said of the opening in New Orleans following Spagnuolo’s departure.
Ryan talked up Fisher and the other coaches in St. Louis but said that he ultimately left due to differences in football philosophy. Mainly, there was disagreement about the defensive scheme that was to be employed. Ryan wanted to stick with his 3-4 scheme while Fisher and the franchise were looking for a 4-3. New Orleans has not operated out of the 3-4 much this year, but that is mainly due to injuries at certain positions.
However it came to work out, I think Saints fans are grateful to be able to put 2012 behind them and look forward from here on out.