Getting either Ryan (Rob or Rex) to shut up is no easy task. Last season Rob’s mouth wrote checks his defense couldn’t cash. Like when he directed “ALL HYPE” comments toward the Eagles which his defense simply failed to back up in two attempts. Jerry Jones went out and got Rob Ryan help on the defensive side in the off season so in 2012 expectations are going to be considerably higher.
We’re familiar with Ryan putting the blame on himself after his defense had a poor performance during 2011. It happened several times last year. Not a guy who puts the blame on his players for sure. However in 2012, he won’t have to put the blame on himself, fans will do that for him.
When you look back, Ryan gets a Mulligan for last season. It was his first year with Dallas and it was a shortened pre season because of the player lock out. To be fair, none of that made things easy at all. Ryan reflected recently,
“When we look back at ourselves, reevaluate, I think I started too fast,” said Ryan, the second-year coordinator. “I put in the accelerated program without English 101, which I always struggled with. You have to have a foundation. … It’s like getting a tutor. My kid gets a tutor, he gets 90s in math. He doesn’t? Forties. We need 90s or 100s.”
To not help matters either, in the 2011 NFL draft the Cowboys did very little to address the defensive side of the ball whatsoever. They only drafted two defensive players of which one had a bad knee (Carter) and the other (Thomas) didn’t even make the team. The only free agent addition that played was safety Abram Elam and he was not resigned this season.
And it wasn’t as if personnel changes weren’t needed. The Cowboys were awful on defense in 2010, finishing an embarrassing 31st in scoring defense. Opponents were scoring on the Cowboys like secret service agents in Columbia (Rim shot…”be here till Thursday be sure to tip your waitress”).
Despite receiving very little help in personnel last year Ryan was able to improve the defensive performance as scoring defense moved up to a more respectful 16th, in 2011.
But it is the productive activity in the off season that will raise expectations and put Ryan in a “put up or shut up” situation. Jerry signed free agent CB Brandon Carr for 50 million and then aggressively traded up in the 2012 NFL draft to get top rated LSU CB Morris Claiborne at number 6. Not only that, but 5 out of 7 draft picks were defensive players including pass rushing prospect, DE Tyrone Crawford.
This year, Ryan has a full offseason to slowly teach his complex defense as opposed to the “crash course” version rolled out last year. And most importantly, he has an upgraded secondary which is a critical element of what makes Ryan’s scheme effective. Most of the potential excuses have been eliminated so now it’s simply time to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk.”
Last season after a dismal defensive performance in a preseason game against the Chargers, where QB Philip Rivers made it look way too easy, Ryan declared, “it’s all my fault”. We all kind of realized it actually wasn’t all Rob’s fault however next year with all the new weapons at his disposal, we will be more inclined to agree with him.