'Mad scientist' Rob Ryan continues to adapt unique approach with New Orleans Saints defense
Of all the coaches Scott Fujita was around during his 11-year NFL career -- including innovators such as Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with the New Orleans Saints -- he said Rob Ryan struck him as the one who thrived the most on studying opponents' tendencies and trying to exploit them.
"Rob is sort of that mad scientist type, staying up late, working through the night drawing up crazy schemes," said Fujita, who said he enjoyed playing under Ryan with the Cleveland Browns in 2010.
Fujita served as the Browns' defensive signal caller while playing a variety of linebacker positions. And he helped collaborate on the unconventional "amoeba" scheme that Ryan used that season to cause fits for the Saints' high-powered offense in a stunning upset in the Superdome, with all 11 defensive players standing up at times to disguise their intentions.
"I think if you kind of let Rob do his thing, he's gonna mix it up every single down, personnel running on and off the field, trying to match all the changing personnel groups that we see from offenses throughout the NFL every week," Fujita said. "That's really Rob's specialty. He recognizes tendencies. He stays up all night studying that kind of stuff."
Ryan couldn't argue with the description.
Rob Ryan: Saints Camp Sunday, July 28, 2013Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan talks to the defense during practice at Saints headquarters in Metairie on Sunday, July 28, 2013. (Michael DeMocker, Nola.com / The Times-Picayune)
"I definitely pride myself in that," said Ryan, who took over the Saints' defense this year after both ended last season on the NFL's scrap heap (Ryan fired by the Dallas Cowboys and the Saints having broken the league record for yards allowed in a season).
"I want our team to be the best prepared team we can be," Ryan continued. "You want to try and put our guys in the best situation we can be. And to me that takes a lot of film study. And that's something I've always prided myself in, that I'm willing to work and whatever it takes.
"So I don't have much of a social life after that."
'Mad scientist' Rob Ryan continues to adapt unique approach with New Orleans Saints defense | NOLA.com
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