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Rob Ryan's Friday conference call

Audio and Quotes from defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's conference call with local media

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, October 30, 2015

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob RyanConference Call with New Orleans MediaFriday, October 30, 2015

I know Dannell Ellerbe's status is a little bit uncertain right now but what has he brought since he has been back? How big of a loss will it be if he is not able to go?

"I think Dannell is just a fantastic linebacker. To have him out there, you can feel the difference. He's got speed, he's got toughness, he's a great tackler, he's a great communicator and he is excellent in run and pass defense. He can really run. Obviously, if he doesn't play, he is going to be sorely missed. We have good football players behind him. Ramon Humber is behind him because David Hawthorne has been banged up. If he can't go then we're going to step up because it is next man up around here for sure."

What are some of the attributes that (Jo-Lonn) Dunbar could bring to the defense?

"Again, there is another smart and tough guy that's reliable. Those guys play a long time. If you're genuinely tough and you are genuinely smart, there is a place for you in the NFL. He has had a successful career and he is still going to be good for us, and provide toughness and leadership as well."

How important is it to get off the field in those third-and-long situations?

"I think (to get off the field on) any third down situation is really important. I know you guys always bring up last year but the year before that, we led the league in three-and-outs. People do not like to hear that, I guess. I think we know what we are doing. We have a good plan. The biggest thing is that you have to execute. I think our tackling's much improved from a year ago. In the first year I got here, we missed the fewest amount of tackles in football. Last year, we missed the most. This team here is going to be defined by who it is and I know that we have some pretty good tacklers. When you force the ball to go underneath in those third-and-long situations, you've got to be able to come through a blocker and make the tackle. That has been what we have been able to do."

Have you ever coached a player that you felt that as sophomore (in college), if allowed, could've came to the NFL and succeeded?

"That is a hard question because we really don't get to look at them as pro coaches. I have been a pro coach for 18 years. You don't really get to look at the guys until they're (eligible). You don't put the film on until they're eligible. I am sure that there have been plenty of guys that could do it. As coaches, when they tell us look at this guy, than that is what we'll do. Scouts probably look at all of those underclassmen all of the way through. When we get to evaluate them, we get the last two years. I don't think I can accurately answer that question."

What are some of the things that make Kenny Vaccaro so good at the line?

"First of all, with Kenny, it's the passion and the toughness. He loves it. He studies it. He eats and sleeps football. I know he is a great father with his kids but I don't know what he does because he is always in the film room and he is always studying. (He has a) genuine love of the game. I think it is the perfect spot for him. He likes it when it's noisy. The more heat and the more action you can get him in, the better he becomes. He made some great plays last week on just being a smart football player and understanding how to get there, and his path to the quarterback. He is making a difference. You can really see it. He was forcing plays for other teammates as well. I think he is exceptional at doing that. He is still an excellent cover guy as well."

Is he able to use his instincts more down there, as opposed to what he was doing last year?

"I think so, for sure. When we've got him in his familiar role and where he really excels, he becomes an even better player. Last year is last year. Last year has been documented that it was a dud for a lot of us. We're excited about this year and getting better each week. Kenny is really playing well and he is making a difference out there."

Do you feel encouraged with what you've seen over the past two games?

"I am encouraged with what I have seen most of the season. I know we got off to a shaky start but we had half of the team that hadn't even played a game. They were out there for the first time. (We had) veterans that didn't play in the preseason because they were hurt. We had them and we had (a lot of) rookies so hey, we were going to start a little slow. We're picking it up. I love the progress of these guys. (I love) their work ethic. They care for each other and about getting the gameplan. (They care about) understanding the opponent they're playing and how we need to play. I am telling you, the best is yet to come. We're going to be a hell of a defense. We're just going to keep getting better and better. It is because of these players and their work ethic."

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