At the beginning of training camp this year, Rob Ryan put a quote out into the world that has gotten some serious airtime over the past few days as the Cowboys and Eagles prepare for their game on Sunday:
"I've got three bullies over there waiting for Thursday," Rob Ryan said. "These are proven players, and that's what we need. I don't know if we win the all-hype team, I think that might have gone to somebody else, but we're going to beat their ass when we play them."
Players on both sides have voiced their opinion about that quote, the media have been all over it, as have the fans on both sides.
One of the best things about Fridays in Cowboys Nation is that Rob Ryan is allowed to speak to the press. And in Friday's interview, Rob Ryan addressed that quote extensively, responded to "Sting they ass" Jackson's comments and talked about the Eagles' big play ability, the Cowboys secondary, Dez Bryant and more.
Full transcript of Ryan's interview after the break.
If you prefer the watch instead of read the interview, the mothership has the video of the interview up as well. As usual, all errors in the following transcript are mine.
The interview started out with questions about his 'bullies' quote, and here's how Ryan responded:
Well now, that's great. That's interesting that we'd start with that question.
I thought the question would be about the return of [kicking coach Chris] Boniol going back to Philly. He's played on both teams and I'm sure he's excited.
That other deal was unfortunate. I thought that it was provoked by the media, you know. I'm an emotional guy, who are we kidding. I'm not a guy who can handle Coachspeak, be boring. I'm going to be emotional at times, and unfortunately that was one of my times, and I found out that everybody listens in this town - which is good, nothing like Cleveland - so I got into a little trouble there.
The big thing is you can see the impact Kenyon Coleman, Marcus Spears and Jason Hatcher have had for us. Those are three great players, and recently when I was addressed about our three great players I said "Hey we got our great bullies here, they're great players, they're really going to help us be a hell of a defense," which they are. And I think everybody now knows they are.
And then it was fielding about 15 questions about the Eagles. To be honest with you, all I care about is our team, our players. Everywhere I've been, that's all I care about. I couldn't care less about their players. I respect them, they've got a ton of talent, but I can't wait to get out there and get after it.
I know guys say, "Well, as a coach you don't play so why don't you shut up?"
Well, first of all, that's way wrong. When you're an assistant coach you should shut up all the time.
But second of all, if that doesn't happen, the bottom line is when you work 19 hours a day, like our staff here does on defense for four days a week, you ought to have an opinion. I'm going to say my opinion.
I'm not scared of what I believe in. And what I believe in is our defense. So, can't wait to get after these guys, it's going to be great and let's go get it on.
Q: All your comments come on what you feel about your players, not commenting on other players per se.
RR: Right. I'm not around those guys, I don't live with those guys, I live with our guys. I know how special we can be and we're going to be. Right now, stats don't mean anything. We're first in the NFC in defense, but we want to be first in the NFL, so we've got a lot of work to do.
Our situational football has not been good and that's a constant work in progress, but we have the talent to be everything that everybody dreams about. We have that talent right here in Dallas.
Q: Your style obviously motivates your players well. How worried are you that your style now motivates the Eagles more than necessary?
RR: Well, if they need my motivation to get ready to play us, then we're going to kick their ass anyway.
I don't know necessarily about motivating our guys, I think we've raised the level of expectations together in our room. As players they demand a lot from us, they want us to be our best: We don't break down three games, we go a year and a half of games to break down. We want to be our best, just like we ask our players to be their best. Right now we're getting to know each other and I think we're getting a hell of a lot closer
And I know that [DeSean] Jackson said it's not right for me to comment, and he's right about that. I don't play on Sunday. I know I wish I did. I mean, hell, he doesn't have to worry about tackling me. If he does, he can tackle me, that'd be great. I'm going to land on his shoulder and put him out. So that'd be awesome. He can tackle me two or three times.
We're looking forward to this. I can't wait to coach in this game. That's what I do. I coach.
Now I'm going against Andy Reid who's got gaudy statistics as always. They've hung 500 yards up on somebody and somehow lost. The guy's fantastic and he's 12-0 when Andy has had two weeks to prepare, so we've been working extra hard. I think we're down to 14 minutes of sleep all week.
Q: How much did you talk to Andy in the offseason about his opening?
RR: I don't do that. I don't know if that conversation ever took place, and I'm sure it didn't. Whatever. I'm where I want to be and I love it out here.
Q: Is it fun to piss off rivals?
RR: It'd probably be better if I wasn't an assistant coach and if I was the starting nose tackle. But I'm not. So, you know ... hell ... I take great pride in that.
Q: How much do you remember about those Philly vs Cowboys games back when your dad was coaching?
RR: Well, it wasn't like I was a little tyke, you know? I was single and running those streets pretty hard.
I loved it. Those were great games, won by the most physical teams. And that usually was my father when he was out there.
Q: The Eagles have been the best big play team for more than a decade. They're doing that again this year. What's the one thing you're mindful of against the 20+ yard plays of this team?
RR: There's so many of them. We try to pride ourselves on not giving up the big plays, and they make them every other snap. And it obviously starts with Vick. He's a special player. We tried to show the look of Michael Vick but you can't give a look like that in practice.
The big thing is you've got to coach your players as best you can. That we understand the game. A little play doesn't kill you as long as you don't turn it into a big one. They have a lot of talent that can turn those little plays into big ones, and being in a west coast offense you can do that, that's where DeSean Jackson and those guys come in. The back is a hell of a football player and we've got our work cut out.
They're number one in the league in running the football. So we're going to have to smash the crap out of their running game or it's going to be a long day.
Q: You been very supportive of your secondary here from the very start. Going after Nnamdi in camp, did you talk with your guys after that and let them know what was going on?
RR: That thing, just like me possibly going to Philadelphia at one time, those stories kind of get escalated, whether they be true or not, nobody knows except me so it doesn't really matter.
I don't care. Nnamdi is a friend of mine and he's a good person. But I don't care about what he does on the field anymore. What I care about is what we do on the field.
Will Nnamdi always be a good friend of mine? Absolutely. But it's on on Sunday, and that's war. I don't like him on Sundays.
Q: Did Dez Bryant give you a good look this week?
RR: Oh yeah. Dez does a great job. He's fantastic. And he's so competitive - I don't think Vick is going to stiff-arm anybody and run them over like Dez does sometimes. What a great, talented guy he is. He's a fun guy to watch. And I know I get in trouble for believing that he's going to be great, but hell, I still believe it.
Q: Is it even more important to attack a quarterback like Vick?
RR: There are ways you've got to play this team. I think we've got a great plan and we're looking forward to executing it. I know they've had two weeks to prepare, but that doesn't matter. We've probably done more work on them than they've done on us.