Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Rob Ryan fired by New Orleans Saints; Dennis Allen promoted



The New Orleans Saints have officially fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan one day after the team suffered a humiliating 47-14 loss to the Washington Redskins.

Senior defensive assistant Dennis Allen, who was hired in the offseason, will be promoted to defensive coordinator in Ryan's place.

"Dennis Allen will be taking over," said Saints coach Sean Payton. "And he'll be handling everything from A-to-Z, and recognizing it's a tough challenge for him coming in midstride.

Payton confirmed the news on his Monday night radio show, after shooting down an earlier report by Fox on Monday afternoon when he addressed the local media.

"We just had to, at some point, look closely and give this (firing Ryan) an option because the direction we were going wasn't good," Payton told WWL. "We really struggled with substitutions and getting lined up and getting our guys the defensive call and being able to function."

Payton said no decisions had been made by the time he addressed the media earlier on Monday, and Saints defensive end Cam Jordan said Ryan was still there in the early morning team meetings. Ryan was seen leaving the facility around 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon.

When Payton was asked about Ryan's status around noon, he said Ryan was "absolutely" still part of the staff. Payton made the news official around 6:30 p.m.

This ends a bumpy tenure for Ryan, who did not make it to the end of his third season with the Saints, despite having a top five defense in 2013. Payton mulled over letting Ryan go at the end of last season after the defense fell to the bottom of the league in some categories, (31st in yards allowed, 28th in points allowed) but elected to bring him back for another chance.

Allen's hiring signaled that Ryan would likely be on a short leash. The Saints pulled the trigger after the team allowed an average of 44.3 points in the last three games. The Saints are now 4-6 and likely out of the playoff race.

Ryan was hired in 2013 after the Saints relieved Steve Spagnuolo of his duties after one season in which the defense set a record for yards allowed. He turned the unit around immediately from the worst in the league to a top defense.

Despite an early rash of injuries, the Saints made the divisional round of the playoffs in 2013 and finished No 4. in yards and points allowed.

However, things quickly went south in 2014, as players seemingly struggled to grasp Ryan's scheme. The Saints went from functional to dysfunctional, allowing an average of 26.5 points per game.

The Saints attempted to simplify Ryan's scheme in the offseason, and brought in a number of promising young rookies. However, the team lost its first three games and despite going on a three-game win streak, have allowed 81 points in the last two losses. They rank last in both points and yards allowed.

"I'm disappointed for Rob that it didn't work out," Payton said. "I'll tell you one thing now: He's a fantastic staff guy. He's a guy who's respected greatly, not only in the locker room, but by his peers."

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