New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan is one of the most recognizable assistant coaches in the NFL, but he will need a haircut to get a head coaching job, an ESPN analyst said this week.
Ryan, who turned around the Saints' defense from one of the worst in the league in 2012 to the one of the top five defenses in the NFL this season, is conspicuously missing in talks for head coaching positions, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. He reportedly said on the network's show "NFL Insiders" that his fate could lie in Ryan's wildly blonde mop top.
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"If he wants to be a head coach, he has to cut his hair," Mortensen said, according to ESPN radio KPEL-AM. "It is about image for these guys. They want a CEO-type. That's what they want."
ESPN's Mike Triplett said
, though, he thinks the complaint about Ryan's hair is a ridiculous, and Ryan will likely land a top job with some team sooner than later.
"But I think all of those qualms can and will be overlooked if Ryan has another season like he did in 2013," Triplett said. "It wasn't just the results on the field that stood out with Ryan. It was the way he was so embraced by his players — who raved about the way he made the game 'fun,' while also putting them in the best positions to succeed."
Ryan comes from one of the first families of NFL coaches. His twin brother, Rex, is the head coach of the New York Jets. Rex Ryan led the Jets to two straight AFC championship games and helped the Baltimore Ravens win its first Super Bowl as its defensive coordinator.
Their father, Buddy Ryan, was defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears when they won its only Super Bowl in the 1980s before he landed the head coaching job at Philadelphia.
"Obviously he's a coach that I think is going to be a head coach," New Orleans head coach Sean Payton told ESPN last week. "Obviously we made great improvements from a year ago. He brings an enthusiasm with him, a personality that is contagious. You know, he's a great staff person as well, gets along with the coaches. Shoot, the first year, it was a very important hire for us, an important piece of what we're trying to do. And he's extremely passionate about the game."
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