ROB RYAN (Defensive Coordinator)
Most are very familiar with the production and accomplishments of the Ryan family and their unique style of defense. For the most part it involves suffocating the receivers and bringing pressure, pressure, pressure from anywhere and everywhere. Two of the main necessities of this defense to work properly are to fully install and practice the complex schemes, and to have the appropriate personnel to utilize the controlled chaos.
In 2011, Rob Ryan had neither at his disposal. Just over 40 days is certainly not enough time to teach this defense and fine tune its application. And more importantly, Ryan lacked the aggressive man coverage corners that make his defense excel and in all actuality become very effective. With Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne bringing the exact type of physical, man coverage needed for Ryan to unleash his arsenal, the defense should progress by leaps and bounds in 2012.
What most will learn about this defensive style next season is that with reliable man corners, Ryan creates pressure not merely by having player’s with immense rushing skills, but by disguises and match-ups that allow rushers to surprise the offense or have a schematic advantage from the snap. The application and progression of the Rob Ryan defense should be a refreshing treat for Cowboys fans to enjoy in 2012, as last season displayed merely a shell of its potential and ferocity.
JEROME HENDERSON (Secondary)
Henderson is a protege of both Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan, previously coaching defensive backs for the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. The benefits to this specific background are crucial as he has spent years learning what is required of defensive backs in the Ryan defense, and how to instruct these methods.
With a full off-season working with Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick, the Cowboys veterans should be able to elevate the effectiveness of their roles on the defense, while improving their confidence within the overall scheme. The additions of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne will be monumental in raising the aggressiveness and consistency of the starting cornerbacks on the edge.
Not to mention new safety acquisition Brodney Poole has experience playing in each Ryan twin’s version of the defense. Poole was with both the Cleveland Browns (Rob Ryan) and the New York Jets (Rex Ryan). The vast improvement made in 2012 by the Cowboys secondary as a whole could very well be staggering under Henderson and Ryan.
The widespread player development and refinement resulting from a full off-season training under highly capable leaders will hold special significance for this Cowboys team. From gaining strength and endurance to learning the specific ins and outs of their scheme and position, the players and team are sure to progress substantially.
The experienced, talented coaching hires of 2011, along with Bill Callahan in 2012, will now have the needed means to successfully implement their unique brand of football expertise. And let’s not forget this will be Head Coach Jason Garrett’s first full off-season since his rookie HC campaign…which I’m sure involved plenty of distractions adjusting to the new head role. It’s exciting times in Dallas, and Cowboy fans will soon be able to enjoy a welcome increase in production from many players key to their team’s success on Sundays.