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Rob Ryan: "Kenny Vaccaro is a tough loss"

Quotes from Rob Ryan's post-practice press conference on Friday, December 27, 2013

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, December 27, 2013

You must have been happy with the defensive effort on Sunday up until the final drive?

"Yeah, that was tough especially with so much on the line.  That is how it is in this league.  It is so close every week and it is so competitive.  That was a heartbreaking way to lose a game."

You've had two last minute losses this season, is that something you've had in the past?

"I think every coach has and if they say they haven't, they are obviously lying.  But it is something either you look first at yourself to improve and then you look at exactly what happened and then we've done that.  We've addressed it numerous times.  It is just such a hard thing to do because like you said, we were playing pretty well and that is a quarterback (Cam Newton) that made a couple of good plays and threw in pretty tight windows.  Bottom line is it doesn't matter.  We have to get it done and we don't want to make excuses for anything."

Were there any regrets on decisions or coverages?

"I regretted the call the corner blitz on the big touchdown run.  That was a bad call on my part and then they hit a deep out on a zone cover two.  On that final drive I have no regrets at all."

With the loss of Kenny Vaccaro, how does that affect your guys moving forward?

"We've lost a lot of great players along the way.  A couple of times we were without Malcolm Jenkins and that hurts you.  You are without all these players, that's just how it is. It's a tough loss, no question.  Kenny is a hell of a football player.  We have real good players around him that have to step up and have to break that job up.  He was doing multiple jobs so we have to break it up and give different guys different roles.  Bottom line is, whatever it is we have to be great on Sunday that is for sure."

Are you looking to get Rafael Bush back?

"That is definitely going to help.  He is another good football player that we were missing.  He is not all the way back, but he is ready to play and help us in a smaller role.  We are excited about having him back.  He is an ascending football player."

What are your thoughts about Nnamdi Asomugha announcing his retirement?

"He's a great player, played with him a long time.  He's a smart.  He had a great career.  It was a pleasure coaching him.  I know that.  He is a great person as well as a great player.  Now he can use those million dollar looks to go into modeling or acting with his wife.  I don't know.  He has a hell of a career in front of him because he is smart and good looking."

Considering you took over a defense that allowed the most yards in NFL history, how would you say this season went according to your expectations beforehand?

"I think obviously, we are very proud of the work our guys have done and up to this point.  We need to finish.  We need to make the playoffs and get in this big tournament.  That is the thing.  It is one of the few things that we haven't really accomplished.  You look back where you want more turnovers.  We definitely want that.  We are preaching that, working on it, but I am proud of the way everybody has played and everybody has coached.  We have a together group.  We have a together coaching staff and a together player (roster).  We believe in each other.  We hold each other accountable and it all comes from Sean (Payton).  We want to be a little tiny part of our success and that comes from the head coach and it filters down to the organization and we are just a little part of it.  We are a prideful group.  We've worked hard and we've achieved a lot more than probably a lot more than people thought we could.  We are not done yet."

More than you thought you could?

"I am going to tell that lie and I am going to say I knew we would be great and I think we are on the verge of doing that.  We are going to keep working until we are, until somebody says we are the best.  Right now we are not the best, but we are getting better and are going to be one day."

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