The Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator search took a surprise turn on Wednesday when they interviewed Rex Ryan. The former Jets and Bills head coach is one of the most successful defensive coaches of the last two decades, but he's been out of the NFL for eight years.
As expected, news of Ryan's interview was met with mixed reviews by Cowboys fans. The majority of feedback was negative. While folks recognize Ryan is a brilliant defensive mind, there's apprehension about how long he's been away from the game. He's worked as an analyst for ESPN since 2017, so he's obviously watching.
There's a difference between watching and studying film, however. Regardless, eight years is a long time to be away from the game. The league has evolved since Ryan last coached. The quarterback position is played differently and the evolution of offensive play-callers has made life difficult for the game's top defensive coordinators, including Dan Quinn.
That's why Cowboys Nation would like a defensive coordinator who's coached against modern offenses. Ex-Giants DC Wink Martindale checks that box, and rumor has it the Cowboys have reached out to his agents about a possible interview.
Cowboys could look at Wink Martindale for DC job after interviewing Rex Ryan.
105.3 The Fan's Bryan Broaddus first mentioned Martindale as a potential candidate last week. Martindale doesn't fit the mold of a Jerry Jones hire, but he's arguably the second-most appealing candidate behind Mike Zimmer.
Martindale was a linebackers coach for three different teams before he took the league by storm as the Ravens defensive coordinator from 2018-21. It's no secret that the Cowboys need to improve at linebacker, and Wink has vast experience working with the position.
Martindale's blitz-heavy scheme might turn off some fans, but he's had success at every stop, including with the rival Giants. Despite having a lowly offense and suspect personnel on defense, New York tied the Ravens for the most takeaways in the league. They were also a top 10 third down defense under Wink.
NFL Network's Jane Slater noted that Martindale "would likely do a shorter deal." That seemingly aligns with what the Cowboys would want given Mike McCarthy is entering a lame duck year.
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