Rob Ryan's Shot at Eagles Exactly What Cowboys Need

By Jeric Griffin

The Dallas Cowboys have not had a coach like defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in almost 20 years. Although he’s not the head coach, Ryan brings a sense of tenacity to America’s Team that hasn’t been seen since Jimmy Johnson roamed the sidelines at Texas Stadium. Ryan made his first headline as a Cowboy on Monday when he took a shot at Dallas’ division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles definitely stole the spotlight in the wildest off season in NFL history. After signing several big name players, including cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins and quarterback Vince Young and then trading away backup quarterback Kevin Kolb for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Eagles self-proclaimed themselves a “dream team.”

Apparently, Ryan still has some old school brass to go along with his new school defensive scheme. He basically guaranteed the Cowboys would beat the Eagles this season when he seemingly called Philadelphia the “all-hype” team. This followed his comments regarding the Cowboys’ signing of defensive ends Marcus Spears, Kenyon Coleman and Jason Hatcher, whom he called “proven players.”

“I’ve got three bullies over there waiting for Thursday,” Ryan said. “These are proven players, and that’s what we need. I don’t know if we win the all-hype team, I think that might have gone to somebody else, but we’re going to beat their ass when we play them.”

Of course, Ryan would not clarify which team he was referring to, but I think we all know. There are two things Ryan said that really excite me as a Cowboys fan and analyst; he took a shot at Philly and then he referred to his players as “bullies.”

As I mentioned above, the Cowboys haven’t had a coach make such a bold statement since Johnson guaranteed Dallas would win the 1994 NFC Championship game. Not only did Ryan let us know he’s very confident in his new defense, but he also gave his players some incentive to not only beat the Eagles, but beat them in resounding fashion.

Calling Spears, Coleman and Hatcher “bullies” is awesome! Do you think those three guys will ever let anybody call them “soft”? Absolutely not. Do you think the rest of the Cowboys’ defensive players want to play hard enough for Ryan to call them bullies? You better betcha. All this is adding up to some hardnosed defensive play from the Dallas defense this season.

I’ve already heard several members of the media say this is Ryan’s first red flag as a member of the Cowboys’ organization. If I haven’t already, let me make it clear this is a red flag, a very good one. It’s an excellent sign that Ryan is bringing an attitude to this Dallas defense that it hasn’t had since those Super Bowl seasons of the early 1990s. If you’re a Cowboys fan in any shape, form or fashion, this should make you very excited about the 2011 NFL season.

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