First things first, no one was happier than I was two years ago when the Dallas Cowboys hired Rob Ryan. Like Ryan, I told everyone I knew how I thought the Cowboys were going to be a top 10 defense. Boy was I wrong, and apparently so were the Cowboys because they fired Ryan after just two seasons as their defensive coordinator today.
Jerry Jones told everyone it would be a very uncomfortable off-season in Dallas and it began with a ripple yesterday when the Cowboys fired Skip Peete. Today brought a big splash with the release of Ryan. Let’s be fair here, it isn’t all Ryan’s fault. He didn’t have the players he wanted to make his defense work last year and they were awful. This season Ryan lost six major contributors to his defense, including his heart and soul in Sean Lee, and the Cowboys finished 19th in the NFL in defense.
None of this excuses Ryan from playing way too soft with a defense built on the idea of bringing pressure with DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Too often Cowboys fans saw Ryan rush only three players and not get to the quarterback. Too often the Ryan had Ware or Spencer in coverage on critical third downs. This season when the Cowboys brought pressure they got to the quarterback and when they didn’t they got beat, it’s as simple as that. Yet Ryan never consistently attacked the quarterback.
I once wrote that Rob Ryan spoke like Tarzan but called defense like Jane and I’m guessing Jones and Jason Garrett had seen enough. Where was the aggression we were promised when Ryan was hired? He said he was going to get after everyone’s butt, but that rarely happened.
Despite what Ryan had to work with in his two seasons, he did not get the job done. There are no excuses and he’ll be the first person to tell you that. The Dallas Cowboys are through with the excuse game and they’re trying to get out of their mediocrity rut, so Jones is making it known that being average is no longer accepted. Cowboys fans have longed for accountability and now we’re getting it; this should be a happy day. There was plenty of promise from Ryan but it didn’t work out and it’s time to move on.
Jerry Jones promised change and to make things uncomfortable this off-season and so far, that’s what he’s given us. Maybe tomorrow will bring a offensive coordinator who will call the plays too? Hey, you never know?
Was I too aggressive in blaming Rob Ryan? Maybe, I guess I was just trying to show him how easy it is to be aggressive.
you can contact or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi