Will the Saints retain Rob Ryan despite reports otherwise, or was New Orleans head coach Sean Payton simply playing a game of semantics during his press conference on Monday afternoon?
Less than 24 hours after Payton's team was bullied by Washington in a 47-14 beatdown, the coach said he had yet to meet with Saints executive vice president and general manager Mickey Loomis, with whom he'd need to consult with before making such a decision.
"In regards to any potential change, that's something we haven't even met on," Payton said. "That's not something that would be done without a lot of thought. Anything like that would be done with a lot of consideration."
When asked if Ryan was still his defensive coordinator, Payton said "absolutely," but consistently said "next topic" when asked any follow-up questions.
If Payton does end up getting rid of Ryan, it would be hard to stomach from an outside perspective if he makes any kind of announcement on Monday. After pleading for the time and patience to have "a lot of thought," surely this is not something Payton could turn around and do in the next 24 hours, could he? At the moment, the Saints are on pace to set a record for passing touchdowns surrendered. The defense is led by Rob Ryan, but the groceries are certainly selected with a large influence by Payton. It also seems very clear Ryan is not running the same defense he was two years ago schematically, when the Saints finished No. 4 in the NFL.
Still, a good defensive coordinator needs to be flexible and not just dedicated and passionate, and maybe that will be Ryan's ultimate pitfall. For the moment, we have no crystal-clear answers. Payton needs time to have a few meetings first.
UPDATE: The Saints have fired Rob Ryan and will promote senior defensive assistant Dennis Allen to defensive coordinator, according to Rapoport.