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Rob Ryan’s Hands Will Be Tied By Lack Of New CBA

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It’s not like the Cowboys had much of a choice about whether or not to hire a new defensive coordinator. Wade Phillips was dumped in the middle of the season, and Paul Pasqualoni was never more than an interim solution.

So they went out and got themselves what was arguably the best candidate around in Rob Ryan. Rob Ryan, the man with the capital Swagger who will bring energy to Dallas. Rob Ryan, who'll save the defense with his contagious passion. Rob Ryan, who with the right defensive pedigree and a reputation as a defensive genius is going to turn the Cowboys D once again into an aggressive and attacking unit.

Hmmm … really?

Regardless of which side’s rhetoric you’re more inclined to believe, a new CBA is not likely to be signed anytime soon, and a lockout is looking increasingly likely with every passing day. Without a CBA, there is no free agency. A lockout would mean that apart from the draft, no NFL activities involving players will be possible: no player trades, no signings of draft picks or undrafted free agents after the draft, no OTAs, no minicamps and perhaps not even a training camp, or at least only a rudimentary version.

In fact, depending on whether the potential lockout lasts late into the preseason (or into the season itself) there’s even a chance that there will be no free agency whatsoever ahead of the 2011 season.

So what exactly is Ryan (and the rest of the coaching staff) going to be doing? Sure, he’ll be watching a lot of film and he’ll be a key part in grading current and potential future players, which a lot of fans agree is already a good thing all by itself.

But how can he turn around the Cowboys defense if he doesn’t have the time to work with the players, both old and new, and can’t implement his schemes due to the labor lockout?

As bizarre as this may sound, if the lockout continues past a certain point, Ryan might have to fall back on the Phillips/Pasqualoni gamebook and would have to work with the same defensive personnel the Cowboys had in 2010 once the season starts.

These are not good prospects, not just for the Cowboys and their fans, but for most other franchises and their fans as well. The owners know it and the players union knows it.

Whether they’ll do something about it, in time, we can only wait and see. Our hands are tied.

Just like Rob Ryan’s.