6:30pm: The Saints have fired Ryan, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Saints are promoting Dennis Allen to defensive coordinator, sources tell Rapoport (link). Allen had been calling the coverages anyway, he adds.
11:37am: Speaking to reporters today, head coach Sean Payton said that the Saints have not made any changes to their coaching staff at this time and that Ryan is “absolutely” still a member of the staff, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
Of course, that doesn’t mean Ryan will continue to hold the defensive coordinator job by the time the team’s next game rolls around. Ryan hasn’t been officially let go yet, but at least one New Orleans scribe – Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune – suggests Payton may be just “playing semantics,” adding that the head coach definitely left the door open for a change (Twitter links).
9:27am: Following the Saints’ latest defensive meltdown on Sunday in Washington, the team has decided to part ways with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, multiple sources tell Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The move doesn’t come as a real shock, coming off a blowout loss, with a Week 11 bye looming.
Ryan, the brother of outspoken Bills head coach Rex Ryan, had been the Saints’ defensive coordinator since the 2013 season, having previously served as the defensive coordinator in Dallas. Between those two jobs, he agreed to become the Rams’ defensive coordinator in January 2013, but resigned a few days later.
While the Saints’ defense was solid in Ryan’s first year with the team, the unit struggled last year, ranking 31st overall in DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, including dead last against the run. This year, the New Orleans defense was 32nd in DVOA through nine weeks, and after the unit allowed Kirk Cousins to put up 47 points and a perfect passer rating in Week 10, that ranking surely isn’t improving.
While there’s no indication yet who will take over Ryan’s position for the rest of the season, defensive assistant Dennis Allen looks like a strong candidate. Allen, who has previous experience as a head coach and defensive coordinator, was hired by New Orleans in January to work with the defense, after having been linked to the Bears’ defensive coordinator opening.