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Sean Payton on firing Rob Ryan: Status quo ‘would be madness’

Dec 8, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan during the fourth quarter of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Panthers 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton addressed last Monday’s dismissal of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and argued the team simply couldn’t stand by and allow things to continue on that side of the ball in such a poor manner.

The Saints are coming off a bye week — which provided for a good time to part ways with Ryan — and insisted losing the defensive coordinator would not be a distraction in Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.

“I think the bigger challenge would be coming back [from the bye week] and just continuing on with the normal routine,” he said. “The point is, we’re just not gonna continue on status quo. That would be madness, right?”

The Saints rank dead-last in overall defense and have surrendered the most points (315 for a 31.5/game average) and the most yards (424.3) in the league this season. With Dennis Allen stepping in to replace Ryan, Payton pointed out that wholesale changes aren’t possible at this point of the season.

“I don’t think you can at this point toss everything out,” he said. “But it might be how we’re doing [things] and who we’re doing ’em with.”

Ryan’s future on the Saints staff was tenuous at best after Allen was hired in January as the senior defensive assistant, especially coming off a season where Ryan’s defense ranked 28th-overall during which the two were seen butting heads on the sidelines.

Still, Payton admits it was a difficult decision to make.

“Obviously you hate to be making a decision like that, especially during the season. It had gotten to a point, though, where something needed to change,” he said. “I hate to see that [Ryan] wasn’t successful. But there were a ton of consistent things that were happening that weren’t getting better …

“Now that being said, there’s a bit of every one of us that has to be better.”