Bein’ Rob Ryan

With all the hype surrounding the St. Louis Rams’ hiring of Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator, one might think he bought the team from owner Stan Kroenke.

The media loves their characters. Players like Joe Namath, Michael Irvin and Chad Johnson are quick to get a headline, but when it comes to coaches, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has taken the media frenzy to another level. Nobody garners more attention on the podium as Rex, and his stardom has trickled down to his brother Rob. Of course both studied under their father, Buddy Ryan, the longtime NFL coach and “creator” of the 46-defense. Rob has jumped all over his limelight, famously saying he would “be out of work for like five minutes” after the Dallas Cowboys fired him earlier this month. As Deadspin pointed out, he was out of work more like 22,987 minutes.

What the hell is the “46 defense”?46

It’s a branch off the base 4-3 defensive scheme. At the time, opponents were torching the Chicago Bears defense through the air.  Buddy Ryan came up with the variation to give the defense an edge by freeing up a pass rusher. Essentially, the defensive line dramatically shifts to the weak side (the opposite side from the offense’s tight end), thus forcing the offensive lineman to account for the defender staring directly at them — instead of just worrying about their gap. Blocking assignments broke down, and the quarterback had a tough time adjusting to the defensive fronts.

All this talk about Rob Ryan strictly running a 3-4 scheme is nonsense.

The dude was tutored at a young age by the creator (his dad) of another version to the 4-3 defense. Over the years, he has mixed packages to confuse quarterbacks using zone blitzing. From 2004-2008 he ran the 4-3 defense for the Oakland Raiders. The problem? Their best record during that stretch was 5-11. He uses a lot of traditional 3 and 4 man fronts, but he also uses nickel fronts (2-4 down linemen) and psycho fronts (1-5 down linemen) and “cloud” schemes (no down linemen). 

one down-lineman

one down-linemen

two down-lineman

two down-linemen

What scheme will the St. Louis Rams run?

Jeff Fisher’s scheme, period. This is Fisher’s team — not Gregg Williams or Rob Ryan or any other defensive coordinator. Fisher played safety for the Chicago Bears, learned his coaching ways under Buddy Ryan as his assistant, and will collectively create a game plan each Sunday with his coaching staff. Could Robert Quinn see a few plays where he isn’t in his traditional stance? Sure! But don’t expect any major overhaul of the current system.

3 Pros

  1. Smart, deceptive blitzing. Ryan knows a lot of defensive schemes so it will be interesting watching how he works with a young defense that owned the most sacks as a team last season.
  2. Swagger (YA. F*** YA. GO FOR IT, YOU F*** FACE) … staring at NY Giants sideline:RobRyanFuckYeahFuckFace
  3. Regardless of how you feel about Gregg Williams or Blake Williams, it’s obvious the levy had broken enough to the point where neither was welcome back with open arms after bounty-gate.

3 Cons

  1. Long-term stability. Another veteran coach with the potential to get head coach nominations if he succeeds.
  2. Ryan has had only one top 10 defense and never has been a coordinator on a playoff team.
  3. Ryan has never had a team rank top 10 in the takeaway category.

Ultimately, it’s only fair to trust Fisher’s judgment. He took a depleted roster and went 7-8-1 in his first season. The defensive staff returns Dave McGinnis, Chuck Cecil, and Mike Waufle so Rob Ryan is just one piece of the puzzle.

That’s all, I’ll write again in like five minutes.

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