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Rob Ryan on Saints' D: 'We're hurting our team'

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The New Orleans Saints, easily one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL, just dropped three straight games at home, where they had been seemingly invincible.

While crucial turnovers have plagued Drew Brees and the offense, it's been the defense that has consistently disappointed.

"Every year's different, and every game's different. So that's what you keep battling for," defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said, per ESPN.com. "We've got a great room there to work with. We've got great coaches, and we need to fix it.

"Because right now we're hurting our team, and that's not what I was hired to do."

The Saints' defense has struggled with the basics, from missed tackles to blown coverages. The unit ranks 27th in total defense (377 yards per game), allows opponents to score on 43.9 percent of drives (31st league-wide) and have just 11 takeaways (29th). New Orleans is also dead last in allowing opponents to convert on third down, at a rate of 47.9 percent, which is emblematic of all the team's problems.

"You're not gonna beat anybody, even as great as Drew Brees and our offense is, if we can't get off the field on third down," Ryan said. "It makes it almost impossible to win a game. So obviously, we put a huge emphasis on it."

Ryan has tried everything, from sitting back in coverage to blitzing heavy on third downs. All have failed this season.

If that trend continues in Pittsburgh -- and we don't see how it would magically change -- Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell are in for big days on Sunday.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews the Week 13 games and reacts to the news of RGIII's benching in D.C. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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