Rookie mini camp is finally here and we all get to see our shiny new toys. I Haven't been this pumped to see a rookie class in some years now. But the rookie mini camp also brings us a look at what our coaches think of the players, and evidently of each other.
Going through my daily Cowboys search I came across an interesting interview with Cowboys assistant Nate Newton. He touched on a very intriguing issue in regards to Rob Ryan and Monte Kiffin. It mirrors a thought Ive been contemplating since the firing of Rob Ryan.
Before I get on Ryan I want to start off by saying I admire his passion and work he provided while at Dallas. He often dealt with injury issues and did his best to overcome them. It wasnt great but it was tough hard work. With that said I always thought there was something missing in what I call Ryans 'Chaos' System. I dub it that because alot of the time, even with a healthy defense, the defense looked like chaos before the snap and sometimes causing it after.
His style was unusual at times, his bravado got a bit tiring, and with such up and down results it got hard to keep believing in him. I will admit I was shocked at first at his release because I wasnt sure why, but like the draft when the smoke cleared and Kiffin was hired I saw the bigger picture.
Here is a cut from the Nate Newton interview from Dallas News:
On the changes to the defensive system from Rob Ryan to Monte Kiffin:
"When you’re the defensive coordinator putting together plays and not letting your staff be a part of putting together these plays, you just hand the linebacker coach his deal, you hand the defensive line coach his deal, you try to mesh these guys and don’t have their input that’s the feel I got from (Rob Ryan).
With Rod Marinelli and Coach Kiffin, they’re working together. I saw them come out after the evening practice, the DB coach (Jerome Henderson), he had a little glitch in what he thought was right and what Monte wanted, they came back out and ran over it as coaches. Maybe Rob did this in the big meeting room, but I never saw them come back out on the practice field.
This is the second time. Two weeks ago I walked out there just to meet them, they were out on the field, all the position coaches, including Monte, going over exactly where the players should be. … Whether Jason (Garrett) is the leader of this deal, for once I feel like all these coaches are on the same page.
This is a very telling statement from Newton. It isnt hard to believe that Rob may have isolated his staff in part because of his ego. But ego aside Robs system and approach to running it never seemed fluent throughout his tenure. Injuries had some to do with it sure, but again even at good strength I just never got the impression we were ever in sync. The system is a complex one yes, but that could have alot to do with it.
The system reminds me of the "Princeton Offense" in college hoops. The Princeton offense is used more for teams that lack elite athletic ability, doesnt posses enough ball handlers and shot creators. Robs system relies on alot of tricking, moving, odd fronts and fluff. I dont believe it maximizes the abilities of the players on the defense. This defense is littered with potential play makers in a defensive system that hasnt shown over a course of time it makes plays.
Dont believe me?
- From 2004-2008 in Oakland their defense under Ryan never generated more than 26 TO's averaging 22 TO's a year.
- From 2009-2010 in Cleveland under Ryan they maxed out at 28 averaging 23.5 TO's a year
- From 2011-2012 in Dallas the defense averaged a porous 20.5 TO's a year with a staggering low of 16 last season.
In comparison the last 4 seasons in Chicago under then DC Rod Marinelli , who was Kiffins right hand in Tampa and now in Dallas, the Bears were generating turnovers. Their defense had a low of 28 ,a high of 44 and an average of 35 TO's a year.
How do the sayings go? A spade is a spade? If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, well then its a duck right? I have every reason to believe Ryans system is what it is and what it isnt. One thing it is not, is a turnover defense. In fact one can argue his system is one merely reflected of his results, average. Only once since becoming a DC in 2004 has he had a defense finish in the top 10 overall. Something Kiffin did all but one year in Tampa.
Its no secret the Tampa 2 is designed to take advantage of the play makers on your defense. With guys like Ware, Lee, Carter, Mo, Carr, Spencer, Ratliff roaming around there are plenty of plays to be made. Add to the fact the switch allows guys like Matt Johnson and JJ Wilcox to use their athleticism at Safety, its not hard to see how this system can do better. But one thing the defense couldnt do was stay status quo in a system proven to be nothing more than mediocre and leaving us empty in the turnover department.
On the battlefield the chain of command often trickles down. Its an encouraging sign to hear the coaches seem to be on the same page and cohesive, early yes, but still encouraging. If that cohesiveness trickles down to the players that would already be a sign of progress, as that cohesiveness was rarely shown over the past few seasons.
"Anti-wrinkle cream they may have. Anti-Fat Bastard cream they do not." - The Full Monty