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So Rob Ryan Hasn't Been Fired Yet...


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Apparently SP isn't saying a dam thing about Rob Ryan's future!


New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan doesn't seem like he's cleared his office out like his brother Rex Ryan had done in New York as of midday Monday.

Ryan walked into the Saints' locker room shortly before an 11 a.m. team meeting in a yellow button-down shirt with a sheet of paper in his hand. He greeted defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker with a handshake followed by a "bro" hug.

Sean Payton's Monday press conference to wrap up the 2014 season occurred more than an hour later, so it was a pretty safe bet that Payton didn't fire Ryan during that span.

Payton, however, still managed to cut off any questions about Ryan's future at the pass with his opening statement: "Anything we do from a personnel standpoint involving players, or from a coaching standpoint involving coaches, will be announced and talked about at the appropriate time. Today would not be the day to do that."

Payton wasn't going to fire Ryan through the media. Payton wouldn't think twice about concealing a sore eyelash suffered by the 53rd man on the roster to reporters, so predictably he wanted to silence the chatter about Ryan's job status from the start.

Payton also didn't bite when I asked him why he felt confident Ryan could turn around the league's 31st-ranked defense in total yards and 28th-ranked unit in points per game.

"Number one, you just heard what I said at the beginning, Larry," Payton said. "I didn't mention anything about Rob Ryan. I didn't mention anything about a specific coach. And so I'll say this again, just so you're clear: Now is not the time for us to discuss a player or a coach or his future. It's not.

"And with that being said, you really can't take my answer as such and draw a conclusion from it. Does that make sense?"

What makes sense is that I don't envision Payton taking weeks to mull Ryan's future. If Payton makes a move, my gut tells me it will be happen this week.

I don't think the Saints would care about the perception of having their fourth defensive coordinator in five years if Ryan is dismissed.

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Rachel Whittaker takes you through Monday at Saints camp with Sean Payton, Drew Brees and three other players.

What's the right decision for the Saints going forward at defensive coordinator? There's an argument for both sides.

Ryan helped architect the 2013 defense to a massive turnaround in production after the chaos of the Steve Spagnuolo tenure, which Payton ended as soon as he returned from a yearlong suspension as part of bounty-gate. Ryan took that historically bad unit from 2012 and made it into the fourth overall defense in the league in 2013. But this season there was a precipitous drop-off with many of the same players.

It's become repetitive to ask players if they support Ryan and hope his tenure with the Saints stretches into the 2015 season. They support Ryan and point the finger at themselves. I don't believe any of this is lip service from the players, which was how many of the 2012 Saints defensive players handled the questions about Spagnuolo.

The locker room completely turned on Spagnuolo. This time, it seems in favor of Ryan.

"I don't want to play for any other defensive coordinator other than Rob Ryan," veteran linebacker Curtis Lofton said.

This decision won't be up for a vote, though. This decision will ultimately come down to Payton.

Meanwhile, the Saints may already be on the market for a secondary coach.

Defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff could be on his way to Vanderbilt to become the Commodores' defensive coordinator, according to FootballScoop.com.

This would be the Saints' third secondary coach in four years if McGriff makes the move. Payton dismissed the report, saying McGriff was still on staff as of midday Monday and he will talk to McGriff.

Defensive backs Kenny Vaccaro and Corey White didn't say for certain McGriff was on his way out, but they're preparing themselves as if McGriff won't return.

Vaccaro said all McGriff told him was that Vandy asked permission to talk to him.

"That's a DC job," Vaccaro said. "All coaches are inspired to be head coaches and defensive coordinators. Hats off to him. Whatever he wants to do, I'm supporting it.

"We've grown, we're real close. Outside of football, I've talked to Crime (Dog, McGriff's nickname). It will hurt me, but at the same time he's got a family to take care of and everybody wants to be that defensive coordinator. You've got to build your way up."

White added: "If that happens, this will be my third defensive back coach in four years. I don't know. Change is always good, but I like McGriff. He was a good coach in my eyes. Came with a lot of energy all of the time. That's what we needed."

McGriff came to the Saints two years ago shortly after the Saints brought on Ryan. Will Ryan be the next out the door? This decision won't be as easy as cutting ties with Spagnuolo or Gregg Williams.

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