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Rob Ryan: Keenan Lewis has earned Pro Bowl consideration

Rob Ryan spoke with media after practice on Friday, December 20, 2013

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, December 20, 2013

What do you hope will be different about the defense this Sunday?

"Obviously we want to hit and run to the ball better than we did last week. We've got to stop a great running attack. We've got our work cut out for us. We're looking forward to this game and we have some big goals here and we want to accomplish them, so it's going to be this week."

What are your feelings on why your defense has had so few takeaways in the last four or five games?

"We just keep emphasizing it, and we've been talking about it, but we just haven't been getting it done much. We've really been emphasizing (takeaways) this week.  Everybody's been buying in (to it). We're working as hard as we can on trying to knock the ball out and finding different ways to do that. We've just got to. That changes games when you get turnovers, so we're doing everything we can as players and as coaches to get that turned around, and it will this week."

You like to be unpredictable. Is that harder to do against a team that you just played?

"Yes, it is. I liked our plan a lot the last time we played them. That makes it difficult, but this time of year it's going to come down to – there's not one coach going to make a play – these players are going to come through for us, make the plays and get us this big win we've been needing."

Was one of the keys to the previous Carolina matchup the discipline your defense showed? Is one of the keys to beating Carolina, in terms of not letting them run the read option and things like that?

"Yeah I think it's read option, it's fire pass fullback in the flat, its screens. We did a great job of that and we've been doing a great job of that. We gave up a couple of plays last week, which was uncharacteristic and that's not who we are. Over the course of a long season, sometimes you've got to go through that. It isn't ever going to be perfect, except maybe if you're the '85 Bears. They even had a bad game against the Dolphins, so it happens sometimes. Look, we want to be consistently good and we're working like hell to do that."

How do you stress the forcing of turnovers in practice with the way it's set up now with the new CBA and so many non-padded practices?

"Yeah we've got new equipment in our meeting rooms and we're hitting the ball. Every play is a point of emphasis. I think as you go, you get tired as the season goes, and maybe that emphasis wasn't made enough or it hasn't been. It certainly has been made enough this week, and we've just got to capitalize on it. They've turned the ball over some and we need to definitely do that."

Now that Pro Bowl voting is coming up, is Keenan Lewis the kind of guy that deserves the national attention?

"I certainly think so. I know you guys think so. I mean, when you see him play every week you know he is. Some of these guys might have four picks but you see them give up 16 touchdowns, but get voted into the Pro Bowl. This guy has earned that, and I think – I don't know how it is nowadays, AFC/NFC and my kids voting – I don't know. But I know who deserves it, and he's worked his tail off. What a leader he's been for us, and what a transaction. We picked him up out of all of these other people out there and, like I said, we knew we got the best defensive player that was available. We did."

Shadowing a top receiver in man coverage, is that something that half of the teams in the league do, if that?

"I'm not sure really, because I don't get to see everybody. I get to see a lot of teams playing on the tape that we do, but I'm not really sure if the Revis Island is out there. He certainly was in New York. But I know Keenan does a heck of a job for us. We put him in a lot of tough situations and he's come through week in and week out. He's been extremely consistent and extremely productive."

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