Dallas Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones promised big changes in Big “D” after the team failed to make the playoffs last month. Apparently, he wasn’t just blowing his usual smoke. Earlier today, the Cowboys fired their defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan.
Head coach Jason Garrett had this to say about Ryan in a statement issued on Tuesday:
“I want to express my appreciation to Rob for all of his efforts and contributions to the Cowboys over the past two years. At this time, the decision has been made to move forward in a different direction philosophically on defense. I have an immense amount of respect for Rob as a person and as a football coach and I wish him and his family the very best.”
Ryan was on vacation when he was told he would not be returning to the team next season. His comments to ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon indicated the Ryan was not only shocked by the news, but upset by it.
“I inherited a team that was 31st in the league in defense and made them better. I (expletive) made them a hell of a lot better. I’ll be out of work for like five minutes. I think I did a good job and I think our staff did a good job on defense trying to compete with what we had at the end of the year. But the best job we did was when we were able to coach our starters.”
There is little doubt that Cowboy fans will be shocked themselves by the firing. Many believe Ryan’s defense was one of the lone bright spots of last season’s team. Especially considering the number of injuries the defensive side of the ball suffered throughout the year.
I believe the Cowboys would not have fired Ryan without having confirmed his successor. This could also be the reason for the delay in firing him. Former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith would be an obvious choice as a replacement as he has ties to East Texas and specialized in defense while at Chicago.