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Hicks backs Rob Ryan's claim Saints took DC's power

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Rob Ryan blasted the New Orleans Saints and his former boss Sean Payton last week, saying he was effectively neutered and forced to run a defense he didn't agree with. Payton responded that Ryan's claims were "silly."

Former Saints defensive lineman Akiem Hicks backed the coordinator over the head coach in this superfluous spat.

"Not to talk about New Orleans for the rest of this interview, but as a player in that system, you can see when power is taken away from a guy," Hicks, now with the Chicago Bears, told reporters Wednesday, via ESPN.com. "It was evident in that situation and you saw what the turnout was because of it."

Ryan told The MMQB he was forced to play a three-deep, Seattle Seahawks-style defense after the team signed Jairus Byrd in 2014. The Saints owned one of the worst defenses in the NFL the next two seasons under Ryan.

Hicks believes Ryan was not only forced to play a different defense, but had his personality stifled in New Orleans.

"I didn't see the interview, but I do know this: I'll forever and always have a lot of love for Rob Ryan, just because there's nobody that's going to shoot you straighter," Hicks said. "He's going to tell you how it is, he's going to tell you how he feels, and you're always going to understand his perspective on things, and I feel like that was taken away."

(Our next edition of this storyline will likely involve current Saints defenders backing Payton and/or bashing Rob Ryan, because it's June, and that's how these things cycle. )

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