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IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) - The Dallas Cowboys and Rob Ryan have ended their relationship, one that was short but never dull.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones pledged there would be ‘uncomfortable’ change at Valley Ranch in the wake of another 8-8 season.
Ryan, the Cowboys defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, confirmed his dismissal to local media outlets Tuesday, one day after running backs coach Skip Peete was let go.
In a statement emailed to CBSDFW, Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett gave Ryan high praise for his work in Arlington. “I want to express my appreciation to Rob for all of his efforts and contributions to the Cowboys over the past two years,” he said in the email. “At this time, the decision has been made to move forward in a different direction philosophically on defense. I have an immense amount of respect for Rob as a person and as a football coach and I wish him and his family the very best.”
More changes could come on the offensive side of the ball but immediately, the Ryan firing will likely mean some members of the defensive staff who are Ryan’s ‘guys’ might also be let go.
Additionally, Garrett — who personally informed Ryan of the move while the defensive coordinator was vacationing — saying that the club will “move forward in a different direction philosophically on defense” suggests a possible alteration in Dallas’ base 3-4 defense.
Ryan oversaw a defense that in some eyes overcame a devastating number of injuries. The club’s numbers landed Dallas at No. 19 overall in yards allowed and No. 24 overall in points allowed in the NFL but seemed capable of much more before season-ending injuries to standouts like Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Barry Church and Jay Ratliff.
The team was also hit by the loss of Josh Brent in an early December DWI crash that killed practice squad member Jerry Brown.
NFL Network analyst and outspoken former Cowboy Deion Sanders tweeted his reaction to Ryan’s firing by saying “Please don’t tell me the boys fired Rob Ryan? He was NOT the Problem! The players respected him.”
The always-colorful Ryan told the Dallas Morning News, “I have no sour grapes. I know I did a hell of a job. I will find another spot.’’
The Cowboys likely already have a list of Ryan replacements in mind. Depending on their situations elsewhere (and on the club’s 4-3 vs. 3-4 decision) that list might include names like Lovie Smith and Ray Horton (who are interviewing to be head coaches this week), Romeo Crennel, Dave Wannstedt, Mike Singletary, Eric Mangini and Monte Kiffin.
Ryan had one year remaining on his 3-year deal with the Cowboys.