The New Orleans Saints have ended their search for a defensive coordinator, by hiring Rob Ryan to run their new 3-4 scheme. NFL.com's Kareem Copeland reported the news of Ryan's appointment.
What can Saints fans expect from Ryan's defensive scheme? The simple answer is a mix of fronts, each tailored to heavy blitzing. For his base defense, Ryan has tended to favour a traditional, 2-gap 3-4 front.
That puts pressure on the likes of young defensive linemen Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks to draw double teams on the edge. It also means the Saints need a hulking nose tackle to occupy the middle. 4-3 veteran Brodrick Bunkley may not have the size the traditional 3-4 demands.
The Saints current personnel does feature a few weapons Ryan should find plenty of use for. Linebacker David Hawthorne is an excellent blitzer, as is strong safety Roman Harper. Ryan will scheme various pressures to free Harper and Hawthorne.
The New York Giants have severed ties with three members of their Super Bowl-winning team from over a year ago. The timing is right for a Big Blue makeover, after a limp title defense in 2012.
The Giants finished this NFL season at 9-7. However, unlike the 2011 campaign, the Giants surrendered the NFC East title to the Washington Redskins and missed the playoffs. It was a major disappointment after having secured their second Lombardi trophy in four years. The response to that disappointment has been swift and merciless.
Firs Big Blue cut outside linebacker Michael Boley. He recorded a game-high 10 tackles in Super Bowl 46 against the New England Patriots. However, the once ultra-athletic Boley appeared to lose a step or two this season.
The 2012 season was one to forget for the New York Giants.
The glory of winning the Super Bowl the previous season was quickly replaced by some mediocre play during the year. A strong defence of their title never really materialized.
On the face of it, finishing the campaign in second place in the NFC East, with the same 9-7 record that saw them win the division last year, wouldn't’t seem that bad. The Giants though require more. The baying New York sports fans and media need more.
Head Coach Tom Coughlin is nothing but meticulous in his approach. There was no immediate knee-jerk reaction to what was a weak season. Instead he and the front office have bided their time, and in the wake of the Super Bowl have made some notable waves.
Earlier this week they announced that linebacker Michael Boley would not be returning next year. He had been with the G-Men since 2009 and was an integral part of their championship winning defence. He started last season strongly having an interception in each of the first three games, but then his performances, much like the Giants, tailed off as the season went on.
The Chicago Bears face a host of decisions about re-signing potential free agents this offseason, none bigger than the question of what to do about Brian Urlacher. The career Bear and eight-time Pro Bowler will turn 35 in May, and a series of injuries have raised serious questions about how much he has left in the tank.
Unlike many aging stars, though, Urlacher appears to recognize that he’s no longer the player who recorded 93 tackles and three interceptions in his last All-Pro season in 2006. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Urlacher acknowledged in a radio interview “when you look at my age and everything, it’s going to be hard not to give [the Bears] a discount. I’m not going to make what I was making in the past.”
Urlacher also commented “Chicago is my home…So I want to be there and hopefully we can work something out.”
Since the hiring of Bruce Arians by the Arizona Cardinals, fans and pundits alike have been awash with praise for the front offise and the staff that Arians has put together, with one small exception—defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
From the moment Arians was hired, it became apparent that, in spite of what many fans had hoped, former defensive coordinator Ray Horton would not remain. Early reports indicated that Bowles and Arians were always a package deal, and it quickly became clear that this was, indeed the case.
Horton and the Arizona Cardinals defense were one of the teams sole high points in 2012, and many had been pulling for Horton to get the top job—it would be hard for anyone to argue that he hadn't earned the chance.
It is not surprising, therefore, that fans are somewhat hesitant about what Bowles may do. On the face of it, it's a legitimate concern—Bowles is coming off an unsuccessful half-season as defensive coordinator in Philadelphia, using a 4-3 scheme very foreign to most Cardinals players. Furthermore, no team has made the playoffs since 2007 while Bowles has been in a senior coaching position.