Crack Hits:Freebased Ideas Episode 5

Rob Ryan-New Cowboys DC loves hoodies


It has become official, Rob Ryan is our new DC of the Dallas Cowboys. A big step for the franchise was hiring a respectable and knowledgeable candidate. This week in Crack Hits I will discuss why this hiring may be one of the biggest coaching hirings in the recent history of the Dallas Cowboys. We will also discuss the usual draft tidbits some have come to love and look forward to. I also want to touch on Jerry Jones and why this franchise is taking the right road. "It's not what road you take, it's how you take it",  I was once told the morning before work by my supervisor. Funny how I remember that quote, even though I felt it was directed at me, I ignored the quote for sometime.

Much like Jerry I am a proud and a big persona, it's just part of my wiring in my DNA I guess. I obviously do not have the net worth and business success of Jerry Jones, but in ways I feel much like Mr. Jones. Do you know what my worst sin is? It's pride, pride is a sin that can be your best and worst enemy. Jerry takes pride in anything he does, but the Dallas Cowboys are much more than a job to him, it is his manhood and love. I myself am a very prideful person, and sometimes that's considered as arrogance. Arrogant? Yeah maybe, but every great and successful person is arrogant on some level. I call it more of a swagger one's self carries with him throughout life. Where Jerry gained his swagger - or maybe it's again wired into him - I am not sure of. Jerry has made a lot of bad decisions, but doesn't everyone make bad decisions in life? I know I have made my fair share of bad choices. You know when someone says they wouldn't trade those bad decisions back because those faults are what made that man? To me that is complete and utter nonsense.

Jerry deep down in his core knows he has made bad decisions. I believe he would take back the Roy Williams trade in a heartbeat if he knew Miles Austin would become what he is today. I believe that Jerry would love to have the draft picks back from that trade. I believeJerry would have never hired Wade Phillips back in 2007 as the head coach, if he knew what Jason Garrett would become. I believe Jerry would love to re-do the whole 2009 draft minus Victor Butler and John Phillips. We all make bad decisions and what is the key to these decisions is they have an effect on more than one event. Every action butterflies into another event, not all things are derived from prior events, but a lot of times events and decisions that have taken place coincide with each other.

The road Jerry took to where we are now has had its ups and downs. He knows the importance of a decision and how that decision could have an impact on the outcome of another event. Every great man realizes the importance and counter effect one decision could have, but I think back to this quote I heard. "It's not what road you take, it's how you take it". Jerry is having flashbacks to right before he hired Bill Parcells and took a step back from having his hand in everything. He trusted Bill Parcells to take this franchise back to relevance, which Parcells did. Flash forward to 2011 and Jerry is on that road again, the road to redemption. He is letting Jason Garrett take some control in the organization. This is because Jerry trusts Jason Garrett and is one of the reasons why hiring Garrett was a good decision. Jerry knows exactly what he is getting with Jason Garrett. In the selection of the coaching staff Jerry of course has his say, but Garrett has his as well. If this were a couple of years ago, Jerry simply would have made the decision as the boss and everyone else can fall in line, but its different this time. Allowing Garrett to choose the coaches he is comfortable with and bring a level of excellence to the franchise. These decisions will affect other events, and making the right decision the first time is vital to achieving success.

Deep down is a man with sorrow for the decisions he has made that have harmed the Dallas Cowboys, and their fans. As fans of this team we expect so much, we expect greatness. Because frankly that's what most of us only know, a level of greatness. I remember the 90's, for I am an 80's baby. For some of you older guys out there it's the 60's and 70's, but what do both eras have in common? Great coaching and great players. Jerry is attempting to atone for his mistakes here guys, I think a lot of times we are too hard on Jerry Jones. I am not apologizing for him, he has done that publicly to the fanbase. Jerry spends his life involved with this team, for how many times has this man sacrificed everything in life to give everything he can to the Dallas Cowboys? I am not saying feel sorry for Jerry Jones, but feel for the man. Yes I am not going to lose sleep because Mr Jones has made bad decisions, yes he has endless money, but he is devoted to this franchise. There are a few owners in the NFL that you might trade for Jerry Jones, but Jerry I know every day, every night he is attempting to give us the best chance to win. I say let's move forward, let's attempt to move on from the past. I say 2011 is a fresh clean slate for Jerry and the Dallas Cowboys. How we fill out the rest of the coaching staff, handle free agency, and handle the draft are all vital to the success of this franchise, just take the right road this time.

The hiring of Rob Ryan was shocking to me, to be bluntly honest. I never thought Rob Ryan was even going to be a DC again, I truly believed he was on the road to becoming a head coach. Rob Ryan brings an attitude and personality the Cowboys have lacked for some time on the defense. Too many times did I feel our defense had taken on the personality of Wade Phillips, which was soft, confused, and would much rather be your friend than be your enemy. Not everyone is going to love Rob Ryan and anoint him the savior yet, but he is about as close as it gets to getting the savior to the defensive problems this team has had. Dom Capers would have been my first choice, but with him being entrenched in Green Bay, its not even remotely close to possible. After Capers I thought to myself, Rob Ryan, wow imagine that happening. I never gave it much though because I really honestly believed Rob Ryan would not come to Dallas, because he had the opportunity to get a head coaching job.

So in come the reports of Rob Ryan interviewing in Valley Ranch for the DC position. I was floored with joy, but being a person who prepares for the worst at all times, I had to temper my joy. I have seen the Cowboys be too passive and not aggressive in jumping on an opportunity. I watched 2 other DC candidates walk out of Dallas and take jobs elsewhere through this whole process. I told everyone, "Do not let Rob Ryan leave that complex without an agreement in place, otherwise we are going to lose a great shot at a great defensive mind". Jerry, most likely urged on by Jason Garrett, agrees and offers Ryan the job and the contract is being worked out. Great news and a great start to building a team again. We are not in classic rebuild mode for we have a lot of serious talent, but the coaching staff is an area that needs to be overhauled and rebuilt, and we are on the right road to redemption.

A lot of people will say look at Rob Ryan's stats and this and that. Well people, I hate to break the earth shattering news, but the Cleveland Browns aren't exactly the pinnacle of success. They lack serious talent on both sides of the football. Ryan actually improved the Browns by 9 spots from where they were ranked the year before. You could tell some of his schemes were beginning to work, I saw a game in which the Browns' defense did a fantastic job vs the Saints this year, and that was on the road! Especially some of the work he did with their DL was pretty great work from what I saw. But what I like the most about Ryan's defenses is that they aren't predictable. Wade would just show you what he was going to do, and he never adjusted, not once. Ryan is going to play more zone, which I thought we looked better at. His Cover 2, Cover 3, looks will be nice for our secondary, especially when we bring in some real safeties to play for Rob Ryan. Ryan implements a lot of the type of zone blitzing most of us rave about, and the creativity is going to be a much needed boost to a dull defense. We all saw the success Rex Ryan has had with the Jets, two AFC Championship games in 2 straight years. Ryan has made the Jets into contenders and his defense confused Tom Brady. Rob Ryan comes from the same school, so it looks like we found our DC that can revamp the defense.

Rob Ryan also rubs off on his defense, and I mean the mentality of the defense. Like I mentioned before, I thought Wade's defenses took after him after a while. I saw an uncreative, at times an unmotivated, soft defense. Wade wanted to be your friend, and thats what our defense looked like at times. Rob Ryan is loud and mean, thats what he wants his defenses to be. Maybe he isn't the most politicly correct man, but he knows what makes good teams click. He understands the importance of being physical and having the fundementals down. Sound tackling will be an area I am damn sure the defense learns in training camp. And I don't care if some of the players don't like Jason Garrett, this isn't a damn picknick guys, this is your job. Football isn't a recreation, NFL football is a job and you get paid to do it, so if you don't like your coach because he is hard on you and demands maximum effort, well that is too bad. We don't want weaklings here, we sent the big one to Houston, and y'all can follow him if you want because the Red Rocket and Ryan camp is coming, be prepared.

I truly believe this hiring is vital to the franchise because of the change of culture Garrett is trying to implement here. No longer are players going to roam around and do as they please, because I am sure that when Garrett had to follow the chain of command (and not show up the head coach) it had to have been sickening to watch Wade waddle through life and this team have so much BS go on. I guarantee we don't see a crazy celebration and guys walking back to the sideline like nothing happened, nope, not this time. Rob Ryan is so important to the future of this team because we are establishing a philosophy of what we want to do here. We want this defense to be great, but at the same time physical and nasty. I think all the great defenses have that, and it may take some time to bring in the right players but at least we got the right head coach and the right defensive coordinator.

Rob Ryan is going to have a field day inheriting DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff. Ryan knows the importance of a good disruptive NT. I am not sure, but Ryan has probably never had one of Ratliff's caliber. Ratliff is a special beast in that he is a pass rushing NT, a very rare concept indeed. Ryan usually likes the big spaceater types, so it will be interesting to see how he uses Ratliff in his scheme. Does he move him to DE and get a big NT? Only time will tell, but we know Ryan has to feel good about it. Getting Ware has to be thrilling because Rob Ryan is going to have the best pass rusher in football at his disposal. How he'll utilizes Ware we don't know for sure, but expect Ware to have maybe a career year, in an already amazing career.

The one player to me that is going to have an opportunity to re-establish himself is Anthony Spencer, for he has been the most unknown commodity on the defense, maybe the team. We all saw a dominant forceof nature last season, but in 2010 we saw a sluggish shell of what we saw in the past. How Rob Ryan works with Spencer to me will be the most interesting storyline of the offseason and training camp. Personally, I am about ready to move on from Spencer, seeing the opportunity to snatch up a young and fast OLB this draft. Maybe I have to give Spencer one more year, especially under the guidance of Ryan, but I am not sure I can wait. I am going to have to wait to see how it plays out, but if Spencer doesn't work his ass off and learn some better pass rush techniques, then it will be time to move on. Right now I am positive that Ryan can work Spencer back into the player I always thought Spencer was going to be, a strong pass rusher. If not, then I want to see more Victor Butler because Butler produces with almost no reps and playing time.

In time I am hoping this defense is vastly improved and takes on Ryan's demeanor. No longer do I want to see the secondary with their arms up yelling at each other. I don't know if you noticed that, but the Cowboys defense always looked to be the most confused defense in the NFL, not knowing what the hell to do. Wade always had that confused look on his face, so maybe his defense held the same characteristics. A player Ryan might really love is Orlando Scandrick. Scandrick has the speed and toughness I am sure Ryan will appreciate. Mike Jenkins is a Pro Bowl corner, he has the talent and the talent isn't the question here. The true question is does he have the work ethic and mindset to get back to where he was? He is fast, aggressive, and has the talent to be a top tier corner in the NFL, but the same thing I read on his college scouting report is the same thing bothering him now: the scouts questioned his work ethic and attitude. Time to step up and be a man and leave all that other garbage at the door Mike, I was your biggest fan and I will give you a pass for 2010 but after this it's time. It's time to get back to business and be the 1st round talent you are.

A major area of rebuiliding will be the FS and SS positions. Rob Ryan will not move forward with Alan Ball at FS and Gerald Sensabaugh at SS. I just don't see that happening. Let's take a look at a few guys Ryan might look for and who have some sort of connection to Ryan.

 Michael Huff, FS, Oakland Raiders. Has ties to Rob Ryan when Ryan was Huff's DC in Oakland. Huff is also from Texas, maybe that will sway his decision to join the Cowboys. Huff had only 3 interceptions this year and might never live up to his high draft selection, but we have seen sometimes what a change in scenery will do for one's career. Maybe playing for a contender with a lot of talent and good coaching would motivate Huff. Huff has the speed we want from our FS, and isn't shy of contact. Sometimes labeled as a bust, Huff clearly has the talent to succeed. Maybe reuniting with Rob Ryan and the great state of Texas is exactly what Michael Huff needs.
Brodney Pool, S, New York Jets. Plays for Rob's brother in New York. Brought in from Cleveland the year before, his future in New York is uncertain. Maybe the Jets draft a S high in the draft or acquire a high end S in free agency. Only had 1 interception this season, but is physical in the run game. Has the fluid hips and decent speed one looks for in a S. Can play FS, but also has the size and strength to move over to the SS spot. Can be good in zone coverage for his quick decision making and football IQ. I really want smart players like a Brodney Pool in my secondary. Might be a bargain signing when it comes time to make some personnel decisions.
Abram Elam, S, Cleveland Browns. Ryan coached Elam this past season in Cleveland. Not really sure to if the two really have chemistry. But considering how often coaches bring their style of players to another team, I wouldn't rule it out. Elam excels in zone coverage, a staple of Rob Ryan's 3-4 defenses. Has a high wired motor and can cover a lot of ground. Physical and strong in the run game, not shy of contact. Elam was once a Dallas Cowboy who eventually was released. A lot of connections here and for the right price, Elam could be a nice bargain in free agency.
Eric Wright CB Cleveland Browns. I mentioned Eric Wright last week in Crack Hits. Wright has fallen out of favor in Cleveland, and was demoted from starting cornerback. Wright is coming into free agency possibly at a good time due to the lack of talent at that position this upcoming free agency. Wright is a great cover corner who can run step for step with a WR. Not the best tackler, but isn't afraid and is willing to dish it out and tackle. Wright was a player I liked coming out of college, he has that swagger Mike Jenkins did have last season. Both are very similar players, but I would feel good having a young, talented, cornerback that can come in and play if an injury happens. I also believe Wright could become our starting CB when Terrence Newman deteriorates. We signed another Browns CB in free agency a few years ago in Anthony Henry. Maybe we find the same level of success with Wright.

Draft time is slowly inching closer and closer. I did 2 different styled mock drafts last week, and will be doing some more as the draft slowly approaches - mocks give us hope and keep us sane. A player that again is putting his name into the 9th overall pick consideration is Marcell Dareus. Mocking The Draft has a great breakdown of his Bowl Game against Michigan State. Check it out Dareus looks like a perfect fit for us as a left defensive end. I watched the breakdown of his play from the Michigan State game and he was just a beast. A knock is that he looks slow, but he moves awfully well for a man of his size. He is a flat out beast and has some pretty good pass rushing moves. I know we get flashbacks of Marcus Spears, but Dareus might be a really good fit for us at 9th overall if Prince Amukamara is gone. Dareus is definitely a name to watch for when the combine rolls around, he could shoot up the board with a good showing, and in my honest opinion he is going to have a great combine. He has a combination of size, speed, and strength that's going to test well with the combine metrics. Keep an eye out for Marcell Dareus, because I am and you should too.

39219_ingram_vs_tate_football In the Star-Telegram I read an article about drafting Mark Ingram 9th overall. Galloway mentions how this #22, could become our next #22. Truly when I watch Mark Ingram, I see Emmitt Smith. I don't know why, but I just do. Now I more than anybody understand the significance of this draft, and how OL and S have to be the main priority. But thinking about the possibility of seeing Mark Ingram up there in our backfield, I do begin to buy into that idea. If we sign 2 high class free agent OL, I think taking Ingram would be a great opportunity. Having a top notch RB is rare in the NFL, there aren't simply too many Mark Ingram's in the NFL. This looks like a classic Jerry Jones pick, a shiny toy I know. Having a good, consistent run game does include the OL, but a good RB can make a big difference. All I am saying is that if we solve the OL needs through free agency, why not splurge on a Heisman trophy winner RB?

It is an idea to scout for over the next few months, anything is possible guys, look at how we got Dez Bryant, you just never know what could happen. It is a deep running back draft, but to me Mark Ingram stands out in a class by himself. Not every attribute is taught or coached, some players just have "it" and Ingram has "it". Back in the day Michael Irvin was acquired, then Emmitt Smith. Could Dez Bryant and then the drafting of Mark Ingram have the same outcome?

As always, another great thought out episode of Crack Hits is in the books. I want to thank you for reading, if you got this far. This episode was a little more on the serious and thought provoking side, a side that Crack Hits is beginning to venture into, even though I will still be fun. Next week we will venture back to the humor side, with a Jerry Jones style mock draft, inside the mind of Jerry. It should be real fun, especially for all our BTB readers to enjoy a nice humorous Jerry Jones piece. Please feel free to comment below in the comment section and start up a conversation or leave your thoughts. Any REC or positive comment I thank you for in advance. Peace.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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