Um, what? Granted this is nothing new… If your last name is Ryan and you coach in the NFL you are known for making ridiculous statements on a fairly consistent basis. As in, whenever a microphone is put in front of your face. This came with the territory at signing, but all of this talk won't mean anything to me unless it even comes half way close to translating on the field. Kenyon Coleman has now gone from a 34 year old back up role player in Dallas to "the best run defender in football as a 3-4 end" in just a few short months. Don't get too excited Saints fans. That's assuming we ignore that he's an abysmal pass rusher, with 13.5 sacks in 11 seasons. Still, I wanted to check PFF to get an idea for how much merit this claim had.
Pro Football Focus gave Kenyon Coleman a +6.0 rating in run defense (-1.0 is pass rush) in 167 snaps last season. That wasn't enough to qualify against the minimum, but +6.0 would have been good enough to rate him as 11th among 35 graded 3-4 defensive ends against the run only (if he had enough snaps). That is actually pretty impressive considering the other guys had way more snaps. If you look at his average grade PER SNAP versus the run, it's +0.036 for Coleman. Compared to J.J. Watt, who was rated as the #1 run defender per PFF in 2012, his per snap count vs. the run was +0.048. The second best, Muhammad Wilkerson, averaged +0.038 per snap or barely better than Coleman. Justin Smith of the 49ers, rated the third best run 3-4 DE run defender in 2012 per PFF, averaged +0.022 per snap. So Coleman blew that out of the water, meaning PFF might agree he's somewhere around the third best 3-4 DE run defender in football. Maybe not as outrageous of a statement after all?
The big question is, though, is his liability as a pass rusher compensated enough by good pass rushers elsewhere to keep him on the field consistently? I'm not convinced. The Saints' pass rush is atrocious. I refuse to accept Victor Butler is going to singlehandedly fix that, and I'm not sold Martez Wilson and Junior Galette are getting any better. There's that, and then there's the whole being 34 thing. Can Coleman even stay healthy and on the field?
So thanks for the pep talk Rob, and I'm glad you like your guys, but I'll believe it when I see it. But hey, at least PFF comes close to backing up his claim. There's that.