The official announcement has yet to be made by Jerry Jones or anyone in the Dallas Cowboys organization but there is little doubt Rob Ryan is our new defensive coordinator. And already as fans we are up to our necks in scrutinizing the latest coaching personnel decision seemingly made by our freshly named head coach, Jason Garrett. Most scrutiny centers around whether Ryan is... Well, whether he is any good or not. From many comments here on BTB, the split is pretty even, but seems to slightly favor the hire of Ryan. Those who oppose ask the question whether eternal fan optimism is the reason for the majority favoring the slightly less obnoxious Ryan, or if there is a legitimate reason to see a turn around for putting the Big D back in Cowboy land? Well, as it is with most seemingly black or white questions, it's both.
The optimism is easy to explain, and those who oppose this hiring have a legitimate beef in asking, "Is this the right move for the 'boys?". As fans, change is always good (we think) after a losing season. We look at our 6-10 record, the Wade Phillips defense finishing in the bottom half of the league in all categories, and just overall sloppy play at times that brings us to the realization that change is imminent and most likely for the best. As the majority of fans have been calling for Phillips' head since 08, the change is great at our D.C. position. Anyone who is hired just simply can't be any worse than Phillips we think to ourselves quietly, then vocally across anything and all things Cowboys.
Those who oppose this move know better. Change was indeed in order, but the change to Ryan doesn't necessarily become the best move. As highlighted by Fan In Thick and Thin's blog, Ryan's pass defenses have ranked in the bottom of the league for years, excluding only 2008 with the Oakland Raiders. Also shown in FiTaT's blog is that some of the defenses players Ryan has inherited have not been bottom feeder players but successful veterans in the NFL. All this can be alarming to a Cowboys fan who does not see Ryan as the best move for the Cowboys defense, as we already rank in the bottom of the league in passer efficiency and have a veteran defense.
The approving side on the hiring of Ryan are in fact optimistic, and as one of the approving fans, I think for good reason. The schemes created by Ryan are only effective with top pass rushers in the league as well as a solid NT, and the reason for this is highlighted on cowboysnation. The defensive schemes seem similar in design to elite defenses in this league such as New England, Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the sense of creating confusion to better attack the opponent, and while the pessimists point to no Ryan's defense being elite or anywhere near the defenses as those mentioned, the optimists point to the lack of talent Ryan has inherited. Though FiTaT seemingly disproves this as mentioned above, I find it important to notice the believed talent filled defenses in Oakland were....Well, Oakland. Over the last decade or so players have ended up in Oakland often because they have no other shot at other teams in the league. The formerly elite veterans Ryan inherited in Oakland were in an organization so unorganized and dysfunctional that even the best talent had a hard time succeeding in the Oakland system. The fact that he remained there for five years to me speaks of his talent as a D.C. in this league. As I am a native Californian not far from the Cali Bay Area, I am unfortunately very familiar with the Raiders organization and Ryan during his tenure. Many Raiders fans went into an uproar at his departure seeing the only good coach they had in years slip through their hands, and Cleveland was ecstatic at his arrival.
Upon arrival in Dallas, Ryan will have top end pass rushers DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, and Jay Ratliff at his disposal to use how he wishes. Now these are talented veteran in the prime of their career and highly coveted outside the Cowboys nation. I mention this to show the vast improvement in player personnel compared to the Oakland veterans in the bottom half of their career. With Ryan's schemes, the players he will have, and a decent pick up of at least one safety and cornerback, I see a bright future for Big D. Ryan seems to be a Garrett guy, as Garrett was his interviewer, with his high paced, up-tempo style, further proof of a possible shift in power in Dallas as Jason Garrett makes the decisions. If Rob can be anything like his little brother (only in size) Rex, I believe Dallas got a possible steal and future great coach in this league.