In the first of potentially many headline moves for the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones announced that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has been fired. While this seems like a performance based move, it is not difficult to see past the alleged motive and see what is really happening here. Jerry Jones is once again looking for a scapegoat, someone to place the blame while he continues his dictatorship over the Dallas Cowboys. A couple of years back it was Wade Phillips, and now Jones has decided that Rob Ryan must face his wrath and sacrifice his position while the Cowboys once again try to re-examine their defense, which actually was not bad this year. Ryan, in his trademark manner, proclaimed after being fired that he’d be “out of work for like five minutes.”
While I have never been a huge Ryan family fan, I respect what Rob has done with the defense in his short tenure in Dallas. When he inherited the spot the Cowboys were 31st in the league in defense, and they have assuredly improved over the past couple of years. This is why his firing now, especially after this season, makes absolutely no sense. He is brash and cocky, but he inspired his players and was able to put up decent numbers while losing 5 defensive starters and his nickel cornerback for the season as well. DeMarcus Ware was injured for a decent stretch as well, but the defense was still respectable. Usually this means that the coordinator gets another chance to see what he can do with his full complement of starters, especially with cornerstones in the defensive backfield like Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. Ryan got canned, though, and once again the onus is on Jerry Jones to produce a coach as competent as Ryan, which could ultimately be his demise. Jones still does not understand that full autonomy is not the way to go, and he must relinquish some of his control in order for Dallas to thrive like it once did.
*This post was written before news broke that Jones cited two games: week 2 against Seattle and week 4 against Chicago as the reasons for firing Ryan. In the Seattle loss (at Seattle, where the Seahawks were 8-0 this year), 10 out of the 27 points were given up by special teams. In other words, the defense gave up 17, not too shabby considering Seattle hung 50 on two teams and 42 on the 49ers. In the Chicago loss, 34-18, Tony Romo threw 5 interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Take those away and it’s 20-18, and that does not even factor in the field position given up by the other 3 interceptions. To recap, my point made before this addendum has been proved by none other than Jerry Jones himself.*