New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan Post-Practice Media Availability Thursday, May 29, 2014
Do you feel like there is more depth on this defense than in years past?
“I think I can only answer that from last year. I think we’ve got a ton of depth. I think we’ve got competition at every spot. It’s going to be great. We want to be a great defense, and I really think we’ve got the parts to really do something special. We’ve got a lot of great young players. They all work hard, they take coaching. I told you before, we have the best coaches I think. Our position coaches are outstanding. They’re all getting better, all working hard, all buying in, and things are going well.”
How anxious are you to see Victor Butler show what he can do for the Saints?
“It’s great to get him back out there. He looks healthy; I can’t wait. Right now, our tempo is that we’re working on our scheme, our communication on our scheme, and how we operate. This isn’t a full-contact camp, so that’s when I think Victor will really show up where he’s off his injury and things. Right now we’re working hard, we’re getting the communication, and we’re running the ball and doing the little things. That’s what this thing is: getting the details and doing a good job.”
Last year with so many injuries at outside linebacker, how much did it change the way you went into the season defensively? How much will you tinker with it because you have more depth at the position this year?
“The biggest thing is always – and we do this as a team, through Sean (Payton) and everybody – we want to get our best players and our (best) combination of players on the field. So whatever it is, the great depth will allow us to be more flexible, and that’s what we really want to be. We want to know what we’re doing, we want to get there in a hurry, and that’s our style of play. You watch us play, that’s our style of play. Some teams are hoping to be tough. We like to play good defense, and we will.”
How does Kenny Vaccaro look so far this offseason?
“(I’m) really excited about him. He’s been working out. I’m no doctor, I don’t know how fast he’s supposed to come back from injury or what, but he looks great. He’s been working hard. He knows the defense inside out, as most of our guys do. They’re looking really good.”
We got a chance to see Champ Bailey making some plays already today.
“He looks fantastic. I don’t know what happened (last year in Denver). I’ve seen him up close and personal, intercepting balls against us when I was in Oakland. He’s fun to watch and he practices really hard. You look out there and you think he’s just one of these young guys running around. He’s bringing excitement to our defense and knowledge. It’s awesome to add a great player like him.”
What has made him special enough to stand out from his peers for so long?
“There are so many things you could say about him. His athleticism obviously. The way he has been able to cover people over the years and still make plays on the football, that’s unique. That’s why he is what he is. He’ll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and we’re fortunate to have him. I’m telling you, he looks great out here. He’s got a lot of life, he’s got young legs, and he’s fun to watch.”
Today Patrick Robinson was out there with the first unit. What do you see it taking for him to earn the starting job after missing almost all of last season?
“I think with Patrick, he had that unfortunate (offseason) injury. He was looking great in all the OTAs, then he got hurt late. Then he’s looking great in training camp, then he gets hurt, comes back (and gets hurt in week two of the regular season). He’s been through a lot. He’s a special athlete, a unique guy that can bend. For such a big corner, he’s got natural bend. We’re going to have competition all over, but we think Patrick is going to be great for us, and we know he will be. It’s unique. We have competition everywhere on this team, and whoever lines up first out of the tunnel, I’m sure the other guys will be playing plenty. We’re going to put our best players out there. That’s what Sean (Payton) hired me to do and I think I’m pretty good at identifying that and playing to our players’ strengths. That’s what we’ll do, and we’re going to be damn good at it.”
Is getting takeaways a mindset that starts on the practice field, in meetings or with the individual players? What’s the approach for that?
“That was a glaring weakness last year on our defense. I think the effort was outstanding, our players are outstanding. We did pretty decent as a unit, but we want to be great, and to be great, you have to take the ball away. We identified that. Every coach on our staff individually has a responsibility for turnovers. We present it to the defense. It’s every one of us at different times, we present different aspects of getting turnovers. We talk about it, we show clips of it. We show some (Charles) Peanut Tillman punch-outs, we saw a few of those today. Great players can be imitated, and we’re trying to do that here. He was a Ragin’ Cajun wasn’t he? I like that there. He’s great to watch, so we’ve been trying to imitate him. Imitation is the biggest form of flattery. So we enjoy doing that; we’re working hard on that. We know we have to improve on that. Seattle won the Super Bowl; they took the ball away more than anybody. They raised the bar, so we have to match it.”
Don’t Jairus Byrd and Champ Bailey have a reputation for being good in that area?
“Absolutely. Everything we do here in the Saints organization through Sean (Payton) and Mickey (Loomis) is geared to help us win. That’s how we practice, that’s how we prepare. That’s the players we get, so it has been great.”
Do you still think the novelty is unique given the fact that the story over the weekend wasn’t Greek Fest, it was Rob Ryan dancing at Greek Fest?
“Yeah, well I’m quite the soft-shoe. My wife is Greek and honestly she was the best dancer out there. You can look it up, she was dominating out there. I was trying to follow. It’s a lot of fun. We love this town, and we plan on doing something special here. We want to be a little tiny part of our success, and I think the town will like us even more this year.”
The Cajun Cannon made it here, and now, as they say, "the hay is in the barn." We are all up here in beautiful West Virginia and tomorrow we will hear from Mickey and Sean.
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