New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan
Post-Practice Media Availability
Saturday, September 28, 2013
You guys run a 3-4 defense, but we’ve seen a lot of four-man fronts. Is that by design because of the injuries at outside linebacker or because it’s working so well?
“I think a 3-4 or a 4-3, they all add up to 7. We’re just a multiple group. We’ve got some guys that can play end and outside backer so we kind of move them around. We pride ourselves on being multiple and giving them some different looks. However we’re typed as a 3-4 team or a 4-3 team, at the end of the day we just want to play hard, fast, and get better every week.”
Most of those snaps have been nickel or dime anyway. Are you doing as much nickel and dime as you probably would have in a typical season anyway, or is some of that injury-related?
“Absolutely. The first game of the year we started in nickel because we figured that was going to be a little different look to Atlanta, but we’ve been playing it kind of close to the vest here, playing a lot of sub defense. That’s how the game is played nowadays. Last week they gave us a lot of it, with two halfbacks in the game. That’s what we call 21-out. We got a ton of 10 personnel, 4-wide. Our thing is whatever they put out, it’s not the position of them, it’s the disposition. We’ve got to get better every week and do the best we can.”
You guys seem to have gotten what you wanted out of the pass rush. Can you talk about that aspect of the defense so far?
“I think Bill Johnson has worked really hard with these guys and they put a good plan together. We’ve had a lot of good pressure on the quarterback, and so that makes a huge difference. I think playing at home, with our crowd as loud as it is, is awesome. I think that ramps everybody up and makes it harder for them to give you hard counts and different counts, so I think we do a pretty good job of taking advantage of that home crowd and rushed the passer pretty well.”
You look at the average number of rushes per week and average number of rushing yards, they seem down from 2009 statistically each year. Do you find that it’s just becoming more of a passing game that you’re having to defend?
“I think it has definitely become more of a pass league. That’s just the way the style of the game is. I know tempo, everybody’s got up-tempo here we go, let’s move. But also, throwing the football is big. It’s not like back in the day where they’d run it twice and you’d get one pass. People mix in the run. Obviously we’re giving up yards per carry pretty high, but a lot of the time that’s by design.”
Do you feel like you have to stop the run game to be successful?
“Yes. You have to stop the run game when that’s a big part of the game. But when it’s not, I don’t think a four-yard run is an insult. I’m like, ‘Alright, go ahead. I’ve given up yards before.’ We want to stop what they do. If teams aren’t committed to run, we’re going to make them run.”
You are not giving up many yards after the catch to receivers. Is that a statistic that you value very much?
“I think so. Our players work hard. First of all, we’ve got some really talented guys here. They’re athletic, they’re tough, they play hard, they tackle well, (and) they do the fundamentals well. That’s a tribute to Wesley McGriff, ‘Crime Dog’, in the secondary. He does a fantastic job of drilling the heck out of these guys so games are easy. You can see it. Coaching still makes a difference on that level. To me, I think our coaches are better than anybody.”
What has Miami been doing in the red zone that has made them so successful?
“Joe Philbin is a hell of a football coach, and he has been. They’ve (his teams in Green Bay and now Miami) always done well in the red zone. It’s definitely going to be a chess match there, and we’ve got our work cut out for us. We had an extra day and we didn’t use it by sleeping on the bed, so we’re ready. We’ll be fine.”