10. Stunned at the outpouring of support and sympathy for Rob Ryan. Fans who screamed for “accountability” and no more “status quo” are suddenly upset with drastic changes? I didn’t think Ryan should/would be fired, but when 70-year-old owner Jerry Jones talks about the “window closing” he apparently is serious about doing whatever it takes to prop it open.
9. Not sure who the new DC will be, but I’ll betcha $1 he doesn’t scheme DeMarcus Ware to backpedal into pass coverage as much as 15% of the time. In Ryan’s 2 seasons Ware had 2 passes defensed and 0 interceptions. Oh, and 31 sacks.
8. Fired via phone call from Jason Garrett while on the beach in Turks in Caicos just east of Cuba, Ryan maintains he did a fantastic job. But some of us remember the chaos late in the Browns’ game getting the right personnel on the field. We’ll remember the 90 and 88-yard drives allowed in Seattle in Week 2 before all the injuries. And we won’t forget the blown-coverage, wide-open touchdowns to Devin Hester and Brandon Marshall that helped the Week 4 blowout loss to the Bears. Ryan says his defense played well enough to be 10-0. That’s just ridiculous.
7. Ray Horton is on – if not at the top – the list of Ryan replacements. Played safety for the Cowboys in the early ‘90s and is close with Garrett. With the Cardinals the last 2 seasons he’s employed the blitz-happy system of former Steelers’ defensive guru Dick LeBeau. He prefers the 3-4 system, which would allow the Cowboys to keep their personnel unchanged. Another 3-4 candidate: Recently fired Chiefs’ head coach Romeo Crennel.
6. I’ll miss Ryan’s colorful quotes – and his wife bringing breakfast Whataburger to 105.3 The Fan – and the way he called out the Lions’ Calvin Johnson and labeled the Eagles the “all-hype team.” But can’t we all admit that he’s the cockiest assistant to never coach on a winning team in 9 NFL seasons? You can call Ryan a lot of things. Winner isn’t one of them.
5. You probably don’t want to hear this, but the firing of Ryan allows Jones to make his “uncomfortable” splash transaction without undermining Garrett.
4. If the Cowboys switch to a 4-3 scheme, top candidates are Lovie Smith, Monte Kiffin and maybe even former Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt. It would allow Jay Ratliff to move to tackle alongside Jason Hatcher and put Ware and Anthony Spencer as hand-on-the-ground ends. Sean Lee would play middle linebacker and Bruce Carter on the weak side.
3. Ryan was fiery and passionate and on the edge of untamed – see his 15-yard penalty at Cincinnati for barking at Bengals’ lineman Andre Smith – but his defense never really took on the personality of its coach did it?
2. In Ryan’s defense, of course, are the injuries. The defense lost 5 starters (Barry Church, Lee, Carter, Kenyon Coleman and Ratliff) and 2 backups (Orlando Scandrick and Josh Brent). When you’re forced to play off-the-couch guys like Brady Poppinga, Brian Schaefering, Sterling Moore, Ernie Sims, Michael Coe, Eric Frampton and Charlie Peprah it’s tough to stomach getting fired for the results.
1. In the end, Ryan was more style than substance, more bluster than blueprint and more sound bite than highlight. In 2011 he blitzed and couldn’t cover the back end. In 2012 he played it safe and got carved up as well. This season the Cowboys’ defense set all-time franchise records for fewest turnovers and most yards. The end.
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