At first glance, it appears Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan didn’t learn much from all the boasting he did last season. Ryan’s unit was awful in 2011, giving up 21.7 points and 343.2 yards per game despite the coach’s constant trash talk. However, Ryan is still at it this off-season and that’s the best thing that could happen to all the new defenders in Dallas.
“I’m happy as hell with what we’ve got here,” Ryan said. “I’m going to say it again: If we play the way we’re capable of, then we’ll be shutting a lot of people up. And there’s a lot of them to shut up out there. A ton of them.”
Last year, Ryan’s first shot was at the Philadelphia Eagles, who he called the “all-hype team.” The Eagles beat Dallas twice in 2011, including a 34-7 thrashing in Philly at Ryan’s expense.
However, Ryan has a highly upgraded secondary now, including free agent signee Brandon Carr and first-round draft pick Morris Claiborne. Dallas also signed veteran linebacker Dan Connor in free agency and drafted pass-rushers Tyrone Crawford and Kyle Wilber.
Many may cringe at Ryan’s aforementioned statement, but that shouldn’t be the case. Under-achievers like Terence Newman weren’t affected by Ryan’s boasting last year, but all these young players will benefit from it in 2012.
The one thing NFL rookies need is confidence from their coaches, especially ones facing pressure to produce like Claiborne. The same applies for veterans like Carr, who sign big contracts and are apt to become content before they even take the field. Trash talk from a player-friendly coach like Ryan will fire up guys like Claiborne, Carr, Crawford and Wilber. Consistent players like Connor don’t necessarily need it, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
As for what happened the last time Ryan talked big to the media in the off-season?
“That’s OK,” Ryan said. “Hey, keep the target on me this year and see what happens.”