May 4, 2012; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan talks with head coach Jason Garrett during rookie mini-camp at Dallas Cowboys headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Cowboy's Rob Ryan and the Killer C's


Rob Ryan’s defense took the field for the first time in 2012 on Friday’s minicamp practice for the Dallas Cowboys. And although it was just basically the rookie draft picks and UDFA practicing, it was also the first time defensive coordinator Guru Rob Ryan was able to comment on his expectations for his new 2012 Dallas defense.

May 4, 2012; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan talks with linebacker Kyle Wilber (51) during rookie mini-camp at Dallas Cowboys headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

In true Rob Ryan form, he did not disappoint.  Ryan walked right up to Dallas reporters and stated  “We’re gonna be damn good.”   

Ryan was then asked if he felt more pressure in his second year. Especially given the influx of talent, such as #1 draft pick Morris Claiborne and free agent additions Brandon Carr, Brodney Pool,  and Dan Connor.

“Yeah, I’m extremely nervous,” a laughing Ryan said, throwing the question right back at the reporter. “But I know one thing. When you add some excellent players like we’ve done, it makes my job a hell of a lot easier.  I’m excited. No question. I’m excited to be a Dallas Cowboy and I’m excited to run some of the new stuff we’ve been talking about around here lately.”

That statement got me thinking. Just how does Rob Ryan’s defensive statistics compare from year 1 to year 2 over his coaching career? And as Cowboy fans, just what can we look for in defensive scheme changes in 2012?

Those questions can best be answered with the information I displayed below.  Since 2004 when he took over as Raiders defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan’s defenses have always improved in their second year, and with the new upgraded talent in Dallas, I believe we can look for a new modified version of his father Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense in Big D.

Oakland Raiders

2004
2005
% Improve
Yds/G
371
330
11%
Pts/G
28
18
34%
Turnovers
18
19
6%
Sacks
25
36
44%

Cleveland Browns

2009
2010
% Improve
Yds/G
389
350
10%
Pts/G
23
17
28%
Turnovers
19
28
47%
Sacks
40
29
-25%

Dallas Cowboys

2010
2011
2012 - Proj
Yds/G
352
343
334
Pts/G
27
22
16
Turnovers
30
25
31
Sacks
35
42
49

The Original Ryan 46 Formation

The 46 defense formation comprises four down linemen, three linebackers, and four defensive backs. The 46 defense was originally developed and popularized by Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, who later became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals. Today the scheme is currently used on a regular basis by the New York Jets head coach and defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, both sons of Buddy Ryan.   The name “46″ originally came from the jersey number of Doug Plank, who was a starting safety for the Bears when Ryan developed the defense, and typically played in that formation as a surrogate linebacker.

The New 2012 version of the Ryan 46 Defensive Formation 

With the edition of both Claiborne and Carr – or as I have nicknamed them – The Killer C’s . The Cowboys now have 2 shutdown cornerbacks and can run their  2012 version of the 46 defense .

3 lineman –   Ratliff,  Spears, and Hatcher

5 linebackers – Ware, Spencer, Connor, Carter, and Lee  (Lee in the Plank SS/ LB hybrid position)

2 Cover Cornerbacks – Claiborne, Carr

1 Free Safety – Coverage – Jenkins    

Look for the Cowboys to overload the left side on passing downs – thus freeing up their 3 best pass rushers -  Ware, Spencer, and Ratliff  all coming at the QB at once from his blindside. 

The above  change in defensive philosophy will result in  the best defensive #’s in Dallas since the  great Doomsday defenses of the late 70’s and the impressive super bowl runs of the early 90’s.

In fact, something tells me that Cowboy fans would be safe in answering the above reporter’s mentioned question from the first day of Mini camp for Rob Ryan.   Ryan was asked if he was nervous about his 2nd season in Dallas.  I think we can all concluded that it should be most NFL offenses that  are going to be nervous on Sunday’s, not Rob Ryan, or his vastly Improving Dallas Cowboy defense.

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Tags: 46 Defense Brandon Carr Morris Claiborne Pro-Football-Reference.com Rob Ryan

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