5 Candidates to be Dallas Cowboys’ Defensive Coordinator in 2013 After Rob Ryan Leaves

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5 Defensive Coordinator Candidates for Dallas Cowboys After Rob Ryan Leaves

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Like it or not, Rob Ryan won't be the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys much longer. The job he has done in just his second season with the team, especially considering all the injuries that have plagued the team this year, hasn't gone unnoticed and he'll soon be the head honcho of his own team.

Seven different Cowboys defensive starters have missed at least one game this year, including three who have already been placed on injured reserve. That hasn't fazed Ryan at all; he's kept his defense—which was a top-five unit earlier this season—among the top half of the league in yards allowed by getting superb effort from players like Orie Lemon and Ernie Sims and then even "bigger" no-names like Alex Albright when those reserves went down as well.

I know, you'd like to have him as the DC or head coach of your favorite team. He'll definitely be the boss somewhere soon, most likely in 2013, especially if Dallas makes the playoffs. Thus, the Cowboys need to start planning for a future without Ryan unless they get smart and make him the head coach instead of Jason Garett, but that's another Rant.

So who are the best candidates to take over for Ryan? Well, most of them will likely end up with head coaching jobs themselves, so there's no sense in even talking about them. The coaches on this list are ones who are waiting for their big break and a promotion to replace a guy like Ryan would be just that. Let us know which of these five—or even someone else not on this list—that you think is the best choice for the Cowboys.

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Cincinnati Bengals DC Mike Zimmer

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This one is probably a long because Mike Zimmer has been a hot name regarding several head coaching vacancies over the past two years and will likely get that big promotion this year. Third time's the charm, right? Zimmer would be an excellent fit in Dallas as the defensive coordinator and/or head coach partially because he's been there before. He knows Jerry Jones and is familiar with the way he runs the club. It's unlikely, but Zimmer would be great for the Cowboys.

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Arizona Cardinals DC Ray Horton


Another candidate with Cowboys history is Ray Horton, the current defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals. Despite Arizona's awful offense and record, the Cardinals' defense is actually pretty solid under Horton. Like Zimmer, he knows how things are run in Dallas, he has a Super Bowl ring with the Cowboys' start on it from the 1992 season and he knows how to get the most out of his players.

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San Francisco 49ers DL Coach Jim Tomsula

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The San Francisco 49ers' defense is dominant and it starts with their defensive line. Jim Tomsula does a great job with that unit, which has recorded 35 sacks this year and that translates directly into turnovers (the 49ers are ninth in the league with 22 through 4 games). Like Ryan, Tomsula is a players' coach and his guys would run through a brick wall for him. After Ryan's departure, the Cowboys need someone like that to step in and keep things on the uphill tick.

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Chicago Bears DB Coach Jon Hoke

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The Chicago Bears are on a free fall right now as a team, but they've intercepted 21 passes through 14 games this year, second-most in the league behind the Cardinals. The Bears' defense has been an absolute defensive-scoring machine this year and with Ryan gone, the Cowboys will need someone like Jon Hoke to bring that kind of production to Dallas.

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Green Bay Packers LB Coach Winston Moss


A former NFL linebacker for the Oakland Raiders, Winston Moss has coached the Green Bay Packers' linebackers since 2007 and is ready to command an entire defense as the coordinator. He's been in Dom Capers' shadow for far too long, so he'll benefit from a warmer climate and a chance to make a name for himself in Dallas.

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