Deke Bellavia: KC & Rob Ryan back together in Black & Gold
by Deke Bellavia,posted Aug 2 2013 12:17AM
Saints Defensive Lineman Kenyon Coleman enters his 12th season in the NFL this fall. Of his previous 11 seasons, Coleman has worked with Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan five years.
“Rob’s a great guy,” said Coleman. “This will be the fifth year working together. He has a way of getting the best out of his players. He’s a guy you can trust, a man of his word and I love playing for him.” Rob Ryan and Coleman worked together in Cleveland and Dallas before uniting once again here in the Big Easy.
Coleman says he’s more than excited to play for the New Orleans Saints. “First of all, Sean (Payton) is an incredible leader. I have had some good head coaches, but Sean (Payton) has built an incredible machine here. It’s very impressive and as far as me fitting in, we have a lot of great guys here so it makes the transition a lot easier.”
Kenyon Coleman came into the NFL after a solid career at UCLA. After his time with the Bruins, Coleman was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round of the 2002 NFL Draft with the 147th overall pick.
Coleman played one season for the Oakland Raiders in 2002. Then Coleman bounced around several franchises. Coleman would next play for the Dallas Cowboys.
Coleman’s first stint in Big D took place from 2003-2006 and again from 2011-2012. Kenyon also spent time in the Big Apple with the NY Jets (2007-2008). And, KC played in Cleveland with the Browns (2009-2010).
Now Coleman is with his fifth NFL team and he feels so far so good with the Black & Gold. “It’s going good, said the seasoned defensive lineman. “We’re out there grinding, working hard and trying to put it all together.” Coleman has been a durable, reliable player during his 11 year stint in the NFL.
Coleman has piled up 361 tackles and 13.5 sacks in his playing days, and right now Kenyon is all about doing whatever it takes to help the Saints win games. “Man I do just what they tell me,” said the 6 foot 5, 293 giant of a defensive end. “If they (coaches) tell me to go out there and rush, I’ll do it. I’ve got things in my mind that I think are my strengths. But the reality is that everybody on that D-Line can play. We’ve got a lot of depth and a lot of talented and I’m going to do what they want me to do.”
Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan believes Coleman is one of the best in the game, when it comes to defending the run. “"I think he (Kenyon Coleman) is the best run defender in football as a 3-4 end,” boasted Ryan.
Coach Sean Payton also likes what he sees in his veteran defensive lineman. “I think his role…and I was in Dallas when we signed him…he is a player that understands exactly what he does well and that is the early downs. He plays the run well. He can come off the block and still rush the passer. But, his strength would be defending the run on first and second down… those run situations, short yardage, and goal line stuff. He is stout. He is very strong,” said the Saints head coach.
Coleman was brought to New Orleans to help a defense that gave up on average over 140 yards per game in 2012. Will the Saints D be an improved unit in 2013? Kenyon Coleman thinks so.
“We definitely have a high ceiling,” said # 99. “There is so much talent here. I think that the skill set fits really well with what Rob (Ryan) is doing. There is a high ceiling for me and I am going to do whatever is asked of me. I’m exciting to see where we can go.”
Sitting down with Kenyon Coleman made me realize why he has been able to last so long in the NFL. First, he’s a good, professional football player. You can tell Coleman has his house in order. By that I mean Kenyon is a “faith and family first” type person, and he just wants to do whatever it takes to help his team win. That’s not politics with this guy, it’s just the truth.
So, as Saints training camp continues…how the Black & Gold defense improves will be the focus of headlines surrounding this New Orleans Saints franchise. And if guys like Kenyon Coleman provide better run support…an aggressive, seasoned approach…and a true team spirit…improvement can and should be expected.