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hagan714 10-11-2013 12:01 PM

Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge
 
Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge

FOXBORO -- If it’s not one Ryan, it’s the other.

While Rex gets more than his share of headlines in New England, brother Rob -- a linebackers coach for the Patriots from 2000 through 2003 who now is the defensive coordinator for the unbeaten Saints -- also has made life difficult for Tom Brady and the Patriots offense in the past.

In one 16-game stretch between the end of the 2010 season and the start of the 2011 season, the Patriots were held under 30 points on just three occasions, all three of which came at the hands of the Ryan Brothers. Rex and the Jets stymied New England in the 2010 divisional playoffs by a 28-21 count, and Rob -- as the defensive coordinator for the Browns and Cowboys -- limited the Patriots to 14 and 20 points as New England split those games.

While the Patriots have mixed in an occasional beat down of Rex (including the 45-3 rout late in the 2010 regular season, as well as the 49-19 butt-fumble blowout last Thanksgiving in New Jersey), for the most part, Rob’s defenses have been pretty stout of late against New England.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the Saints defense is far different from last year.

“I’d say last year they were a really heavy blitz and zone team and they gave up a lot of big plays,” Belichick said. “I would say this year under Rob, they haven’t given up very many big plays. I’d say one of the characteristics of their defense is that they play a lot of multiple defensive packages that vary from week to week, similar to what Rex does, or has done at New York, at times. They might play nickel, but one week it’s one version of nickel, and another week it’s another version of nickel. They’ll play dime and they’ll play seven DBs, but the players don’t necessarily all play in the same spots, they’ll move them around by game plan and by matchups and by the type of plays or calls that they want to run.

“You have to be ready for something different. The way they deploy can change quite a bit from a game-to-game matchup basis. They played a lot of 3-4 defense early in the preseason, and that’s certainly their base, similar to what he did in Dallas, but the actual number of snaps that they’ve played during the regular season this year has been a far lower percentage.”

To be fair, a Rob Ryan defense isn’t exactly kryptonite for New England -- one only needs to go back and watch the 2005 and 2008 games between the Patriots and Raiders when Rob was the defensive coordinator in Oakland to realize that. (New England won those games by a combined score of 79-46, with Matt Cassel leading the Patriots in the 2008 contest.) But his attacking style -- the fact that he clearly favors more man as opposed to zone -- and ability to recognize vulnerabilities manage to separate him from other defensive coordinators who are out there.

“He’s a great coach,” quarterback Tom Brady said of Rob. “We got to play against him when he was the linebackers coach here, and I always enjoy competing against a Rob Ryan-led defense. He has his guys always prepared and ready to play. He’s certainly a guy that studies the opponent’s offense and tries to figure out ways to stop what he will perceive that we do well.

“It’s not like he’s just going to let, or try not to let things happen that we’ve done well all season. He’s going to try to take those things away. That’s kind of the mark of what he does. He gets his matchups and he lets those guys attack the quarterback. They play with a lot of anticipation and a lot of confidence, and we’ve got to go out there and try to do the same.”
The last time the Patriots faced a Rob Ryan defense, it was Oct. 16, 2011. The Cowboys were able to dictate the tempo early, as Ryan brought pressure from multiple spots and waited until the last possible second to tip off who was rushing and who was dropping into coverage. As a result, Brady and the Patriots were rattled early -- the quarterback was sacked twice and picked off once before the end of the first quarter. But New England was able to make adjustments and push the pace -- the Patriots ended up running no-huddle on 52 percent of their plays, a season high, as the Cowboys struggled to keep up.

patriots - Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge - WEEI | Christopher Price


hagan714 10-11-2013 12:01 PM

Re: Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge
 
This time around, it’s unlikely New England will be able to put its foot on the gas. (The Patriots have run no-huddle just 5 percent of the time this year, as opposed to 25 percent in 2011.) But there are some areas of vulnerability for New England to focus on. The best defense can be a good offense, and Ryan and the Saints have been blessed by the fact that Drew Brees and the New Orleans passing game has managed to pile up some tremendous yardage this season. As a result, many teams have to pass to get back into the game and are forced to become one-dimensional offensively, which plays right into the hands of Ryan and his attacking defense, which loves to put plenty of pressure on the quarterback.

In truth, that offense has managed to paper over some of the deficiencies in the New Orleans defense, particularly when it comes to the running game. When you’re talking about the Saints, the one vulnerability that jumps off the page is the fact that they’re allowing 5.4 yards per carry, worst in the league. If the Patriots can prevent the game from getting out of hand, they should be able to run the ball, particularly when they expect to have starter Stevan Ridley back after a week on the shelf because of a knee issue.

(When it comes to managing the game against the Saints, one of the games the Patriots might pay particular attention to is the New Orleans-Tampa Bay game. In that one, the Buccaneers were able to run the ball -- they finished with 160 yards on the ground and averaged 4.8 yards per carry -- and control the tempo. As a result, they came the closest anyone has come to knocking off the Saints, losing a 16-14 contest when New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley connected on a late 27-yard field goal.)

The Patriots have been able to overcome some sizable obstacles on their way to a 4-1 record. While Rob has presented some issues for the Patriots in the past, if New England is able to dictate the tone and tempo on both sides of the ball right out of the gate, beating Ryan and the unbeaten Saints on Sunday might not be the insurmountable hurdle the rest of the league has found it to be to this point in the season

patriots - Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge - WEEI | Christopher Price

vpheughan 10-11-2013 02:19 PM

Re: Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge
 
"Oh Brother" quite a stretch to get that in wasn't it? Is the Saints front office still "All Abuzz" too? I'm exhausted said the muffler.

saintsfan1976 10-11-2013 03:10 PM

Re: Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge
 
Red Zone improvement > Running Game improvement

Jack Vegas 10-11-2013 03:55 PM

Re: Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge
 
Our DB's shouldn't have too many problems covering their receivers. I think they'll probably play tight press on the corners to disrupt the slants and short routes. I would never want to count out Tom freakin' Brady but they just don't have great skill people and their best running back is probably out.

Mr.Riaton 10-11-2013 04:34 PM

Re: Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge
 
The best way to beat the Pats.....play the same defense the Giants played against them

saintsfan1976 10-11-2013 04:55 PM

Re: Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge
 
Stop em on 3rd down, just like they've done Cutler et, al.

westbankdaze 10-11-2013 08:02 PM

Re: Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge
 
No gronk helps too.


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Saintswrath 10-11-2013 08:49 PM

Re: Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge
 
We just need to score points in the Redzone and keep our foot on the gas the entire time, Tom Brady has a niche for coming back from out of nowhere to put his team on top and when they do have a lead they tend to not let up or let go.. The Defense need to keep Patriots under 28 points and our offense need to score 40, thats just the type of game we're going to have.

homerj07 10-11-2013 10:08 PM

Re: Oh, brother: Rob Ryan's Saints defense presents Patriots with major challenge
 
They have the ability to run. That will present a problem.


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