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Rob Ryan is Impressed with How Quickly New Orleans Saints Veterans are Learning System

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan spoke with the media after Thursday’s OTA


New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan
Media Availability Transcript
Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's interesting that we are trying to figure out who is playing which position here and it looked like today's practice illustrated a lot of sub packages. Would you say you saw a lot of guys doing a lot different things?
"Most of it is looking correct (digesting the defense). There were a couple of mistakes out there where we really looked exotic. The thing I have been the most impressed about is our veterans and how quickly they've picked things up. Guys have position flexibility all through this roster. There are so many talented guys here but, the veterans in particular (have impressed me). The Will Smith's, the (Jonathan)Vilmas, Curtis Lofton, and Roman Harper. I've been really impressed with how much these guys love football, how much they study, and what quick learners they are. It's really been impressive."

Smith and Vilma are two guys in particular that obviously had to make some concessions to stay with this team, but obviously two guys who you came in and said you wanted to keep working with. What have you seen from them so far?
"(It was also) higher up then just me saying (it). Obviously Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton wanted these guys around and this is the first experience that I have had being around Will Smith, (Jonathan) Vilma, Roman Harper and these excellent veterans. Like I said, I've been so impressed with their work ethic, their attention to detail, and being students of the game and (the fact that) they love football, so it's going really well."

I am sure you don't want to get into specific details but is there a philosophy behind getting the best pass rushers on the field in this scheme or from defensive concepts overall, even if you're looking at the tackle or scanning up everybody at once. Is that  part of your philosophy?
"Absolutely, I have learned from some really great coaches and their philosophy always was to play the best players (and) put them in a position to succeed, and that's what I have learned from Buddy Ryan, Bill Belichick, and Rex Ryan. I have been fortunate enough to be around good people and I would say that is our philosophy (here)."

What's in your approach? Where do you start when you are coming in with a defense that struggled like the Saints did last year? What has been your approach in terms of figuring out where to start?
"I wasn't there last year. I got fired on my credentials (in Dallas) last season, so I want to make sure I do it right (here). Apparently, I didn't do a good enough job last year. With them (Saints), it really doesn't matter, in my opinion, on exactly what happened. I went back and watched all the tape. There are ways that I know as coaches we can help. Like I say, Joe Vitt never coached defense last year and he has been invaluable here. It's a work in progress (and) I think we are all in it together. We are working hard, we are trying to get better every day, and that's what we are trying to do."

Will you take a big step next week in minicamp? Will it just be another big step up for the players?
"You saw a lot of sub (packages) today, which is third down. Yesterday was a big sub day and I think that was outstanding for us overall. We are looking at some new things. I think that the game is changing a little bit with these athletic quarterbacks, so we worked with a lot of the zone read stuff and our coverage today, so we are trying to stay ahead of that curve. I thought it went really well. Next week will have a different emphasis, and again it's a work in progress. It's not perfect, but I know one thing; It's that our guys are working really hard and I've been really impressed, especially with our veterans."

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