Saints HC Sean Payton (visor) and DC Rob Ryan (beard) have struggled to keep the team together in 2014.
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The healthy combination of offensive mastermind and defensive innovation that helped the New Orleans Saints reach the playoffs in 2013 after putting together the worst defense in NFL history the year before is in danger of being separated due to their contrasting personalities.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the working relationship between head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator rob Ryan “has been rapidly deteriorating” over the course of this season, and that the two men “strongly dislike each other.”
In 2012 the Saints recorded a 7-9 record with head coach Sean Payton suspended for his role in the Bountygate scandal. That season the Saints set an NFL record for yards allowed, leading DC Steve Spagnuolo to be fired. In the 2013 offseason the team hired Rob Ryan, who had put together several top 10 defenses in years past. Together they put up the No. 4 overall defense in 2013 en route to an 11-5 record and a trip to the playoffs.
But in 2014, the team’s defense has fallen to low 20s, and the Saints are 4-7 (though still tied for first place in the lowly NFC South division). Much like in Ryan’s previous stints with teams where his defenses collapsed at the end of the season, his tenure in New Orleans could be doomed without a return trip to the playoffs. The main question is: Will Sean Payton also go down?