Has Rob Ryan's Basic Defensive Scheme Changed?

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(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

It is once again that time when you, the avid readers of The Landry Hat, get to have your questions answered by the erudite and insightful Landry Hat staff.  Once again your questions have inspired a wide range of opinions from your beloved writers.  For those of you who have been following the ongoing saga that is Seth’s quest to bring an Asian punter to the Cowboys, we are extremely saddened to report that the Thai boy who was kicking coconuts 35 yards failed to get authorization from immigration to return to the US with Seth. Don’t despair, we here at the Landry Hat are resourceful, we will come up with something.

Daniel Forsythe, San Francisco: Is it just me or does the defense seem much more conventional the last few weeks? If so, why do you think that Ryan has abandoned all the exotic coverages and confusing motion? Do you think Ryan’s basic strategies will change down the stretch?

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 Mark Contreras: Rob Ryan is definitely abandoning his exotic coverages and confusing motions because they are NOT working. You have to have good cover corners and safeties capable of covering big tight ends to be able to blitz often. Even when he does occasionally blitz, the Cowboys get burned regularly. I know I sound like a broken record, but this secondary is CRIPPLING this team… including its Defensive Coordinator’s ability to coach the way he wants.

Jonathan Barger: Rob Ryan is a defensive genius, and such has been proven by his previous work in Oakland and Cleveland; plus what he pulled out of his hat the first couple of games of the season.  I think that as a tactical decision made by him and the entire coaching staff, they haven’t pulled out the best on defense.  The opponent determines the game plan each week, but what does it matter if he shows all of his cards and then Sean Peyton and Mike McCarthy pick our defense apart in the playoffs?  I think you might see something a little bit less vanilla a little bit more cayenne pepper against the Giants because those 2 games we must win to get to the playoffs, but I believe he is saving the massive chaos, habanero/ghost chili  looks for the likes of the Saints, and the Packers, as we will have to go through them in order to a have a deep, successful playoff run.  This team is a contender, and now that everyone on defense is healthy, expect to see key stops down the stretch.

Todd Toombs: That’s a question a lot of Cowboy fans are asking themselves these days.  Perhaps all the head coach talk has Rob Ryan a bit distracted but the personality of this defense certainly seems to have changed.  The blitzes have become a lot more predictable and teams are making the right play calls against them (see the final play in OT against the Cardinals – the short pass to “Hyphen” was essentially a screen pass against a heavy blitz.  Add to that some poor tackling, and it equals a loss).  I think there may be a disconnect between Ryan’s defensive philosophy and Dave Campo’s secondary.  There constantly seems to be a ton of pre-snap confusion in the secondary and it isn’t getting any better.  To my horror this last Sunday it appeared at one point that Alan Ball was singled up against Larry Fitzgerald.  Luckily, the Cardinals did not take advantage of it but that should never happen.  I’ve never been a Campo fan and can’t understand why we would have brought him back to the organization after firing him as a very bad head coach.  I think the Cowboys need to consider bringing in a Rob Ryan guy – someone who understands the system and can get the player’s attention.  Campo is loved by his players.  That is never a good sign.  A coach should be respected and feared just a little.  Rob Ryan is ultimately responsible for the entire defense, but Campo may be the real problem.

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