Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan reacts late in the fourth quarter on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Eagles 38-33. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys Defense in Disarray…again

The big news around the NFL today is that former Dallas Cowboys’ Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan is not going to be hired by the St. Louis Rams after all.  Citing a difference in philosophy, it is my opinion that Head Coach Jeff Fisher didn’t want a sometimes volatile Ryan on the sidelines.
Cowboy fans are still wondering if Ryan should have been fired in the first place, along with many my first thought was “What is Jerry doing?”  After seeing the stats, it became pretty clear that Ryan didn’t do his job despite the fact the defense had a rash of injuries in a plug and play kind of defense.  One player would fall and another was plugged into action.  The curious thing to me, if they fire Rob Ryan for bring the defense from 32nd when he took over to where it stood this season, what are they going to do with the offense?

Ryan’s defense ranked 19th in 2012 with the defense holding the number 1 ranking towards the beginning of the season, giving the hope that our defensive problems were solved.  Then the injuries started to mount and as they mounted, the defense started to fall down the ranking’s ladder.  The defense held their own when it came to first downs and third down percentages, both ranking in the top ten.  A couple of categories that hurt were the points per game, at 23.5 and a ranking of number 15.  The other department that hurt us was turnovers.  The defense ranked nearly dead last in interceptions and the fumbles’ recovered we ranked right around the middle at 19.  Quite simply, we allowed too many points and our turnover ratio was horrible despite the upgrades at cornerback.

In the offseason, the Cowboys signed free agent gem, Brandon Carr and drafting Morris Claiborne.  Claiborne’s rookie season wasn’t a stellar season.  He had 1 interception and 55 tackles.  Carr had 53 tackles and 3 interceptions.

The Cowboys did hire former Tampa Bay Buccaneer defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, switching the team from a 3-4 defensive scheme to a 4-3.  Initial reactions were that of a head scratching, “Huh?”  The current scheme has been working well for the team but the problem lies in the consistency of the coaching staff and the offense.

The Cowboys have had 5 defensive coordinators since 2007 with recent hiring of Kiffin.  Brian Stewart came with Wade Phillips upon his hiring as head coach then replaced Stewart in 2009.  After that, Paul Pasuqaloni took over briefly then Ryan taking the reins in 2010.  With Kiffin’s hiring, there is no stability at the position as Mike Zimmer was there for 6 seasons prior to that.  Averaging 3 years per coordinator isn’t getting the job done as we see that.

Dec 31, 2012; El Paso, TX, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin before the 2012 Sun Bowl against the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

I am anxious to see what Monte Kiffin can do for the defense but the other looming problem is the offense.  Jason Garrett’s offense has been comical at best, making bonehead decisions regarding clock management for one thing, then the inconsistency with the offensive line, the continuing saga of penalties especially “Holding #68”.  Our team will not fare any better with a new defensive scheme if we can’t fight back with a productive offense.  Should Rob Ryan have been fired?  Should Jerry Jones stop worrying so much about the defense and find a top flight offensive coordinator?  Good questions that can only be answered with a resounding “IDK”.  I don’t know the answers but I do feel that Ryan should have been spared, given more time to work with the defense while the offense should have been addressed.


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  • Truth

    Well my friends and fellow Cowboys Fans, I have to admit, it’s a real conundrum, this up and down Defense if even that….or is it??!

    I can shed some light about this if you hand with me a minute(or 2).

    I can speak for the Cowboys, since I follow them quite intensely, but patterns pertain to all teams, again if you follow them as intensely as me or anyone fan.

    With that said, let me dwelve into what I’m referring to. For starters, you see a pattern in Dallas, not only with it’s overall performance yr. in and yr. out but as well on Defense on Offense!! As a whole, the Cowboys have been percieved or said outright that they always underachieved year-in and year-out. I tend to lean that way considering the many Offensive Weapons they possess as well as skilled players on Offense!! You hear it by NFL Gurus, well just about everywhere, ” Cowboys have ‘Underachieved once again…” I don’t want to get to much into detail but think for a minute. Many times, and I know we would rather forget about the bad games, Cowboys have games like the Jets in 2011 when Romo made so many huge mistakes that JG admitted – or rather just said – that it was Romo’s fault. Then Cowboys have games, like in that same year, that set a new high in such lows and/or huge mistakes by Romo, as in the Lions game a week or two later.

    And so, in review of these Cowboys and how the offense operates lately of the last couple of yrs., we basically snatch defeats from the Jaws of Victory. And many times it’s games like this, that play-out like the Jets game, and sometimes with fewer mistakes, or like the Lions mitakes with unphenomenol new lows not only as a team but especially from the QB position.

    I know, we desperately want to forget and brush aside, I mean who or what fan wants to remember such defeats and basically, idiotic performances??

    So Point: A bad offense definitely hinders your defense and vise versa. Sometimes it’s subtle and sometimes it’s unbelievably enormous. Romo vs Redskins and his huge mistakes basically summarized what this Cowboys Offense has been under Romo since 2006. Yes my fellow Cowboys fans, since 2006. How many times do we see games throughout the season, every season since 2006, that Cowboys offense has been ranked in the top 10th, inclduing in yds., but still have nothing to show for it. Not in Wins or in Success. How many times have they ranked last in Redzone scoring, how many times how Points against Us have been because of Romo’s pick-6′s or because he has turnovers in his own territory???

    Patterns: Wade Immediately improved Dallas “D” from the first day he got here. And that was with talent, no DC should or could have done or expected to. But he did, Wade overachieved with what Jerry would give him. Remember, Jerry has always went after the “shiny” stuff/players that excited him or like he like to say, “had the ‘wow factor.”

    In 2010, when Wade was fired, he had Cowboys ranked #1 Overall well into the 7th week of the season while under Romo, Cowboys were 1-6. And hopefully you guys remember what travesty JG/Romo and there production was that season and games. Not until Kitna came in did it change. And all Wade, JG and the players could say was what a difference – basically – it was “Under” Kitna.

    Wade went on to bring a last place defense in Houston Texans to 2nd Overall(I believe) in 1 yr., even while changing the defensive scheme. What was the difference you might ask. The difference was that he was not only given more control but was allowed to do his job without any idiotic meddling like that of what he endured with Jerry and while in Dallas. And that brings me to Rob Ryan. He too suffered the basic same scenario. He was hindered by Jerry’s meddlesome ways, as well as not allowing to get the guys he needed, not in FA nor in the draft. But yet Rob had the #1 Defense well into the 5th or 6th week.
    What happened??? Again, Romo and his ridiculous horried performances doomed the Team as a whole. Negatively affecting the Cowboys Defense with his anemic offensive production, mainly in the redzone, but his many and ridiculous 3-n-outs, turnovers, bone-headed mistakes and lack of redzone scoring!!!

  • ctcowboy1968

    The announcement that the Rams hired Rob never made sense. I was not surprised to hear that it was not true.
    Let’s look at the facts. Jeff Fischer is a D coach who has run a 4-3 D his entire career. The Rams are committed to the 4-3 having drafted and signed FAs for that scheme. There’s no way that Fischer is bringing in a 3-4 D scheme coach.
    Now about the Cowboys… I also thought Rob did a heck of a job with what he had in 2012. But when one goes back and looks at the numbers over the body of his work, it just doesn’t do it. No interceptions is the result of no pressure. Rob’s D is based on confusion and pressure, but he could never achieve it. Nor has he anywhere. The first year of Rob’s D is always a bummer performance wise. The 2nd year is when the players actually get it and should be the best year for his schemes. But that did not happen in big D. Probably due to injuries.
    IMO, Rob’s biggest failure last year was he insisted on rushing 3 at points during the game. It NEVER worked, yet he never learned from his mistakes. Sorta of like JG never learns from his mistakes (ie, clock management).
    The Cowboys are faced with the same ole problem they always have… no one but DWare can put consistent pressure on the QB.
    For what it’s worth, both myself and Californy (props to him) have been calling for a switch to the 4-3 for the past year now.

    • Truth

      First, let me start out by saying that I uncovered a slight contradiction in your comment. And that was that while on one hand you say that Rob Ryan couldn’t creat much pressure, turnovers and questioned his scheme or his ways of creating pressure, on the other hand, you say or acknowledge that Ware was the ony one, according to your opinion/comment, coulld create “consistent pressure…”

      And so with that said, I definitely agree and by the same token, cannot blame Rob all that much. Not change it around for the sake of comparison and let’s say that Rob not only had good talent on Cowboys already as a whole, but was given some players that he wanted to plug the many holes Cowboys D had at time. Now if Rob had this, than I can say, okay, you have a decent group of talented players, or even players that you were not only good, but filled many holes you thought needed to be filled.

      As you know though, that wasn’t the case. Rob’s initial – and all you need to know in fact – was that he was totally caught by surprise with the Claiborne pick and trading – not in same words – But he was saying that that is not what the big board said, despite any truth that Jerry had talked about with Rams prior. Rob had his name, and to a certain extent, Jerry and Stephan both agreed to who they should focus on but pick during the draft. In hindsight, I think Rob, although not calling the final shot but still having input, was okay with such Jerry’s and Stephan’s route of drafting.

      Because either way, it filled a Cowboys need and would fit right in with the improvement the Cowboys D needed at the time. Ohh, and by the way, Rob focused on DBs as he said here and there. Jerry and Stephan wanted, hinted as said several times they wanted DLinemen, particularly Interior DLinemen. If they hadn’t the players or picks they wanted for trading back, they would get Michael Brockers/DT.
      But has happened so many times, Jerry dismissed or strayed away from big board – or the picks according to all the decision-makers, be it Jerry, Stephan, Coaches, Scouts, etc, etc… – because his eccentric, egotistic and idiotic ways reared it’s ugly head once again.
      With that said, Rob Ryan “OverAchieved” with such horrific GM’ing from Jerry Jones. He gave Rob the Alan Balls of the league, the overhyped and washed-out Colombo’s of the league, etc, etc.. Then let’s not forget, he was forced to play the unproven and disappointing Claiborne even while having a Proven and Talented Mike Jenkins in the fold. Mike Jenkins needed some coaching as in to be “Disciplined” and that’s all. Something that he was willing to do. But instead, they kicked him to the curve and let him know he was obsolete even though saying otherwise.
      Rob was handcuffed but even with that, he managed to knocked-out the ten guys who jumped him – comedic comparison – He overachieved, even with the many injuries but no depth due to Jerry/Stephan and JG’s horrid drafting in prior yrs.

  • MillaRed

    Damn dude why even show up? This article makes me want to shoot myself.

  • jrcowboy49

    No body wants this self centered wildman whose defensive scheme has never delivered and has always fell short of expectations!

    • Truth

      Again with the “contradictions…” It makes me and I bet more fans think that you just post a comment for the sake of positing. Why, because the contradiction makes you look….well silly.
      In one post you say the hiring of Rob Ryan by the Rams never made sense… And then later you say that no one “wants this self centered wildman…” Do you see the contradiction??? You talk about reasons why Rob is not a “fit” with the Rams, which I thought was a good observation and thus comments. But then you say he isn’t a good “fit” because he is “self-centered and a wildman.”
      Anyways, all good, just trying to figure you out. Like which reason do you really think was the reason Rob Ryan wasn’t hired by the Rams???