When you allow the most yards in NFL history, you have to start somewhere in the remediation process.

Externally, much of the focus this offseason has been on improving the New Orleans Saints' tepid pass rush and leaky secondary. But for new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the first priority is to fortify the run defense.

The Saints allowed 147.6 rushing yards a game and 5.17 yards a carry last season. Both were league highs.

The 5.2-yards-a-carry average was the worst in franchise history and almost a yard more than the league average of 4.26. It's the highest average allowed in the NFL since the 2006 Indianapolis Colts allowed 5.33.

In an interview with WWL-AM radio, Ryan called the 5.2-yards-a-carry average the Saints allowed last season "much too high, obviously" and added that "to have any kind of defense you have to be able to stop the run."

In evaluating the 2012 Saints defense, Ryan found fundamental flaws in former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's scheme. Ryan didn't mention specifics but his comments echoed what some Saints players have alluded to at various times this offseason.

"Honestly, I don't think the scheme was very sound in the running game," Ryan said in the interview, which aired over the weekend. "That's not a fault of anybody else. I've just been around football my whole life. I know it wasn't (sound). We're going to fix it. That's definitely been fixed."