The New Orleans Saints are planning to hire former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan as their new defensive coordinator on Friday, according to ESPN.com.
The outspoken Ryan was in his second season with the Cowboys before being fired on Jan. 8, after the team missed the playoffs and finished 8-8 for the season.
Shortly after being fired by Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, Ryan said, “I’ll be out of work like five minutes.” He was off by almost a month.
Ryan’s prediction was almost right, though. He was close to becoming the St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator a few days after his sacking, but talks broke down. Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said that Ryan’s 3-4 defensive scheme was not a good fit for the team.
The Saints fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo at the end of the season after the team finished 7-9 and set records on the defensive side of the ball. The Saints were dead last in the league in total defense, they were 31st in passing defense and they gave up 7,042 yards of total offense. They were also last in rushing defense and gave up 454 points. The only other team that gave up more points was the Tennessee Titans.
The Saints have coach Sean Payton back at the helm, who has made clear that he wants to move the defense to a 3-4 base scheme. Ryan would be the ideal candidate to orchestrate that defense.
However, New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Ryan may not have the job secured, because the Saints will also interview University of Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on Thursday, the day before Ryan.
The 46-year-old Grantham has spent the past three seasons at Georgia, but previously spent 10 years in the NFL. He was the Indianapolis Colts’ defensive line coach from 1999 to 2001, the Houston Texans’ defensive line coach 2002-2004, the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator 2005-07, and the Cowboys’ defensive line coach 2008-09.
But sources in the league office are pretty confident that Ryan will get the job, according to ESPN.com.