New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan
Conference Call with Local Media
Friday, November 13, 2015
What's your assessment of the defense right now? How do you think it's developing?
"Obviously the last couple of weeks we've given up too many points (and) too many passing touchdowns. We cannot have that and win football games in this league. We have to be better in our coverage and (to) keep working. These guys are working plenty hard. We are playing with great toughness and we just have to play a little bit better. (We have to play better) in situational football and have to be better in the red zone."
I know stats don't mean everything but you guys are on pace to have the highest opponent's passer rating against you in NFL history; does it feel like it has been to that level or does that not match what you are seeing from this defense?
"Well, when we are playing well it doesn't. We've had some bad moments. I don't know how those ratings are and how that thing goes. I know that we've got a lot of football left. We plan on being a hell of a defense. Right now, I am sure that the stats say that we're terrible at whatever it is. I don't feel that and I know that our guys don't feel that either. The bottom line is that we have to play better. We cannot allow people to score all of these points and be a good defense. We have to get better one week at a time, do things more precise and definitely clamp down in the red zone. It is not like (it is) all negative. A couple of years ago, when we were a top defense in football, everybody was (complaining) about takeaways. Right now, we're the number one team in forcing fumbles and we're the number one team in the league in getting turnovers in the red zone. When you harp on those things and keep pressing on them, eventually, they get better. We're playing a lot of post-safety defense and it takes time to master it all. Obviously, we haven't done a great job yet. We know what we're playing, we're focusing in and we need to play it better. We've got the right players and it is all going to come together here pretty soon."
Can you put your finger on why you've had some issues covering tight ends this?
"When you say that, hell, if you turn a guy loose, (he's going to have success). That is who caught the ball was two tight ends. We had a zone coverage there (and) we should have been waiting for him on the goal line. We turned another one loose on a play-action in the last two weeks. I think a lot of teams are featuring more tight ends in the red zone so their scoring is probably up all around the league. It is what it is. These guys have one of the finest receiving tight ends around in Jordan Reed. We have to clamp down on him. Believe me, we're giving tight ends plenty of attention, I know that."
With regards to penalties, what is your preferred teaching method, whether it is the gloves or anything else?
"We're doing everything on that. We had three penalties last week in the game. It is what it is. Until we can go penalty-free like we're used to doing around here, we have to keep working on it. As much press coverage as we're doing, we have to get our hands off at five (yards). We're doing a good job of that. We're working on it every day. It is a big focus of ours and it is not just lip service. Believe me, we're not used to being this heavily penalized. It takes a lot of hard work and we've got the guys to do it."
In what way have you seen the most development from Stephone Anthony as the season has gone on?
"I don't know how many middle linebackers are out there that are starting as true rookies on the first day. This is like starting a (rookie) quarterback from day one. That is really what it is. He has done an unbelievable job. It is a very difficult job but we've got the right guy there. We've got a big, tough and physical kid that is very smart. He is going to be a great one for a long time."