New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, December 26, 2014
How do you feel about the whole season?
"Obviously it's disappointing. We wanted to play much better than we have on defense. We started off slow and it took a while to get going at all. We battled through. One thing I like is we stuck together. We're all working hard together, but was it good enough? No, it wasn't like it should be and we have to fix it obviously."
Are you concerned at all or optimistic that you'll get that opportunity to come back?
"I've been in this forever. If I get a chance that would be awesome. The numbers are what they are. They don't look good. The game's not played on paper obviously. I didn't win any awards for last year. I don't know if I'll win any for this year. It is what it is. This is a win business. This is a tough people business too. I'll be great with whatever happens."
You still have so many talented players and a coach yourself who helped the unit achieve success in 2013. Is this a situation where it's tweaks needed and not an overhaul?
"I'm going to leave that evaluation up for Sean (Payton) and for Mickey (Loomis) and those guys. I'm just here to do my job the best I can and that's what I've done, so it wasn't good enough. We didn't do well enough as a unit. Obviously we need to make improvement and that's the way it is."
How much did the absence of Jairus Byrd hurt your defense and is that something you can point to in the struggles?
"Obviously he's an excellent player. It's unfortunately we never had a chance to see how good he is. We had him for a few games. There are no excuses here. They'll never be made by me. Whatever it is, it is. I did the best we could. Our players are doing the best we can. It wasn't always pretty, it needs to be better and it has to be better."
Do you think that some of the expectations affected the unit?
"I think it did. I think we forgot how we had success. That's when we played better, when our backs were against the wall and we had a lot to prove. We didn't get soft in a year's time, but certainly we could have played better and started faster. It cost us early and in some games and then we're treading uphill the rest of the year. But we need to play better. We have a big game here. We need to play well in it. That's where we are."
Where does it manifest in itself?
"I don't know. I blame you guys (laughter). It's human nature. We're dealing with human beings. Obviously we drink the Kool-Aid a little bit too much. If they don't think so, I think that's wrong. That's an honest opinion. We need to play better and we know we have some great young talent here. It's unfortunate we didn't play as well as we needed to."
Would you coach it any differently next year?
"I have to start with me. Whatever happens, if I'm back, I have to start with me, whatever I can do better, whatever we have to do better, I have to do it. If I have that opportunity. If I don't, I'm still going to look in the mirror and make sure we do things right. I've been coaching a long time. The best way is for me to be myself. Usually that works. Obviously we haven't finished this low in a year in the second year of something. It's a little different, so I have to make sure it's right."
Is there anything positive you can take from this season?
"Our guys played hard. We played a lot of people and they played. Guys that weren't even on our roster (at a certain point) played quite a bit. I think we have some good young players that are playing hard, playing together. I think when times got tough, our defense responded and got tighter. Maybe we're not the best defense in the league, but I think we're a pretty tight group and I think it will help us down the road"
Do you think you'll know when you'll have a sense if you'll be back next year?
"I don't know. I hate fielding these questions. I don't know, but I'm a tough guy. I can handle it."