Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is a man who loves to say what's on his mind to the media. Ryan isn't know to hold back and keep his thoughts to himself. Instead of being modest, he just comes out and says whatever is on his mind. It doesn't make him a bad person or coach, it just makes him a very interesting coach for the media to talk to.
As a writer, I love it when Ryan does a video or interview. He is always a lock for giving me great material to work with. As a fan, I also love Ryan because his passion and emotion for the game of football are eerily similar to how I approach the game. Obviously I don't coach, duh, but most of you know what I mean.
Ryan talked about one of the elephants in the room recently. That elephant you ask? Well that would be the lack of turnovers the Dallas Cowboys are producing.
"We obviously are not good at getting turnovers, so we’re going to get takeovers this week," Ryan said. "We changed the name, and I think we’re going to do much better."
The Dallas Cowboys are 32nd in the NFL with exactly one interception. The Dallas Cowboys are 20th in the NFL with three fumble recoveries. On paper, the Cowboys appear to not be doing their job in creating turnovers. While the Dallas defense ranks top in the NFL against the pass, they aren't generating more turnovers.
Turnovers are really difficult to predict or expect. We all want this defense to win the turnover battle every week, but it's very unrealistic to expect the Cowboys to start intercepting passes and recovering fumbles at a higher rate. Dating back to when Wade Phillips was defensive coordinator, the defense never was known for generating a lot of turnovers. The ballhawking element at safety is still lacking, and until we get one, I don't know how we will start generating a lot of interceptions.
Ryan got some new toys for his defense this offseason. We all know that Brandon Carr was a huge addition to this secondary. While Carr has struggled in the last two games, he has been a major upgrade over Terence Newman. He is a press corner that uses his size and strength to get physical at the line of scrimmage.
If you expect Carr to cover down the field for a long amount of time, then you will be disappointed. That's just not really his game. Carr is at his best in press coverage, and Ryan needs to get him back into that role. With Carr back playing as a press corner, Ryan may begin to create more opportunities to create turnovers.
Carr said this week that he is tired of talking and not making plays. That is an interesting attitude to have, but you have to respect a man who admits he hasn't been playing well and wants to stop talking and get his game back on track.
"Honestly, I just feel like it’s time to do less talking and more just doing," Carr said after Sunday’s 31-29 loss to the Ravens. "I probably won’t be seeing y’all for a month maybe with interviews and everything and I just have to get back into the garage and working on this Carr again. In my opinion, there’s no more need to talk, just go out there and show what you can do. That’s what got me to this point and that’s what I’m going to have to get back to."
As for the cornerback opposite of Carr, Morris Claiborne dodged a serious injury last week against the Baltimore Ravens. Claiborne came back and played the rest of the Baltimore game. Maybe I am being a homer, but Claiborne has been pretty good for a rookie considering he missed most of training camp. On BTB we discussed all summer long that we had to be patient with Claiborne, and I still advise to stay patient with Morris. He is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. By the end of the season, this kid will be dominant.
Rob Ryan doesn't want to take Claiborne off the field, and heck I can't blame him.
"That’s a possibility, but obviously the kid’s really getting good," Ryan said. "He’s getting better each week, and it’s hard to want to take him off the field when you see his improvement."
Our cornerbacks really haven't made too many chances to generate interceptions. We just don't have a ballhawking safety in the secondary who can make plays on the football. If this defense is going to start generating a lot of turnovers or takeovers, then it must come from pressure up front.
If the Cowboys can get more pressure up front (which looks like a problem right now), then the opposing quarterbacks are going to make more mistakes. When quarterbacks make mistakes, good cornerbacks capitalize on those mistakes.
Ryan is still confident in his defense (shocker), but he insists the "takeovers" are going to start coming.
"We’ve got a sound defense," Ryan said. "We’ve got great players, we’re not turning people loose, we do a great job. The takeovers are coming, and that’s what we’re going to do."
I wonder if Ryan will throw on the second track of the "Blueprint" album in the locker room in order to motivate his players? Hey, it may not be a bad idea. The upcoming game against the Carolina Panthers would be a great time for the Dallas Cowboys and their defense to takeover.