New Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan also has been known to exhibit a brash demeanor like that of Gregg Williams, the Saints’ defensive coordinator from 2009 to 2011, the Associated Press reports.
“Personality-wise they are very similar,” Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “They’re cut from the same cloth in that they know that players and matchups are what defense is all about and they have a lot of personality and they’re aggressive in their play-calling.”
Williams often referred to himself as a disciple of retired coach Buddy Ryan, who ran the defense of Chicago’s 1985 Super Bowl championship team and later was a head coach for Philadelphia and Arizona. Rob Ryan is Buddy Ryan’s son, and New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan’s brother.
“They’re all from the same school, the Buddy Ryan defense, so there are a lot of similarities between what Gregg was running and what Rob is bringing,” Jenkins said. “But I think Rob has a few more wrinkles with the 3-4 and everything, and I think we’re going to have fun.”
Williams used to boast brazenly of how nasty he wanted his defenses to be, and wound up being a central figure in the NFL’s investigation into the Saints’ bounty program. The league said Williams administered the program, which paid cash bonuses for big plays, including heavy and sometimes injury-causing hits.
Ryan’s approach also fosters toughness, Jenkins said, and that is something Saints players embrace, even as they are mindful of the scrutiny they faced from the league in the past.
“There’s a line and you don’t cross it, but you want to get as close to that line as you can,” Jenkins said. “We definitely want to be a physical, feared defense.”