Sean Payton addressed the Saints‘ firing of Rob Ryan and handing over the defensive coordinator reins to Dennis Allen, noting New Orleans’ No. 32-ranked defense’s lack of preparation played a key role in the vocal DC’s exit.
“There were a few things that you looked at from a year ago when you said look, we can’t have X number of snaps with not the right number of guys on the field,” Payton told media, including NOLA.com’s Larry Holder. “You can’t burn timeouts every other week because we cannot get the right personnel on the field. We can’t have guys looking left and right at the snap of the ball.”
The Saints’ defensive coordinator since 2013 after stints with the Raiders, Browns and Cowboys, the 52-year-old Ryan has only coordinated one defense to the playoffs — the Saints in his initial season in New Orleans. He’s reportedly a candidate for the Tulane head-coaching job, however.
Ryan’s lack of proper adjustments posed an issue for Payton as well.
“We had to look at, hey, as teams have changed offensively, we’ve got to have some flexibility and find a way to reduce the variation on defense,” Payton said. “We’ve got to find a way to get a call in and play a defense without it being a panic where guys are late getting lined up.”
Let’s look at some more news from the NFC as Thanksgiving night commences.
- Prior to Tony Romo‘s return from short-term IR last week in Miami, Jerry Jones disclosed the 13th-year quarterback suffered six fractures from the initial collarbone injury, per Ed Werder of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Romo re-injuring his clavicle Thursday provided another chapter in this season-defining saga for the Cowboys, one that the aforementioned revelation of six fractures may have been worse than the team initially let on, Werder writes.
- After acting condescending and arrogantly in the wake of the Eagles‘ three-game losing streak, Chip Kelly‘s Philadelphia tenure should end despite the promise of his breakthrough methods, Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com writes. Frank notes Kelly’s behavior’s turned a city against him and flies in the face of Jeffrey Lurie‘s concern for public perception and a likable coach.
- Former Panthers GM Marty Hurney‘s imprint remains large on the 11-0 squad’s roster, with the since-fired GM bringing in the core of the team — Luke Kuechly, Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, etc. — and Ron Rivera. Pro Football Talk’s Darin Gantt writes that while Hurney’s salary cap decisions disrupted future Carolina financial decisions, owner Jerry Richardson refused to allow him to sign players prior to the 2011 lockout as he was helping Roger Goodell negotiate a new CBA.
- Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes Mike Shula should receive the kind of consideration Adam Gase and Josh McDaniels will this offseason for head-coaching positions after overhauling Newton from a one-read college quarterback to a Pro Bowler in the NFL. The former Alabama coach has been with the Panthers since 2011, as the quarterback coach before becoming the OC in 2013.
- The man who helped hire Dave Gettleman to succeed Hurney in North Carolina, former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi, will provide a big boost by aiding the Lions‘ GM search, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes. Accorsi also helped the Falcons and Bears hire their current GMs, Thomas Dimitroff and Ryan Pace, respectively.
- Jeremy Lane looks to make his season debut this week, with the Seahawks set to activate the cornerback who’s been sidelined since Super Bowl XLIX, Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk reports. “Jeremy’s going to be active,” Pete Carroll told media. “And if he makes it through the week okay, he’s going to be dressing and playing.” Lane tore his ACL after intercepting Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. After the Seahawks benched recently signed Cary Williams in favor of DeShawn Snead on Sunday, Lane will compete with those performers to for Seattle’s right cornerback job across from Richard Sherman, Crabtree reports.