There are few interviews that the Dallas press corps looks forward to more than the Friday interviews with Rob Ryan. And if the headlines are anything to go by, Ryan once again didn't disappoint yesterday:
Ryan refuses to dial back his bravado - San Antonio Evening News
Has Cowboys Rob Ryan lost his swagger? Are you kidding? - Dallas Morning News
Rob Ryan lose swagger? 'Uh, hell no' - ESPN Dallas
Cowboys defensive guru Rob Ryan learns his lesson about guarantees - Star-Telegram
Rob Ryan was in fine form again on Friday, quoted Shakespeare, made fun of his girth and his brother and was his usual boisterous and self-depreciating self. And that in itself would make for a fun interview. But beneath all that swagger and bravado put on public display by Ryan, there also remains a strong confidence in his abilities and the teams' abilities.
As Ryan reviews the Eagles game, he points out that "every once in a while, you throw a dud out there," but is convinced that the Cowboys have a very sound defense, otherwise they would have been exposed "a hell of a lot earlier than that." Ryan also covers what they'll do about the injuries that have piled up on defense.
Full transcript of the interview after the break or watch the whole thing at dallascowboys.com
Q: Is the Eagles game the type of game where you can lose swagger? Is it possible for you to lose your swagger?
Rob Ryan: Now Steve, let me tell you something. ‘You jest at scars and never felt the wound.' That's Romeo and Juliet for you guys that don't know.
Uh, hell, no. I mean, come on, look: we've all had bad moments. I've seen your telecasts every once in a while - I'm not going to say you - but I've seen Babe [Laufenberg] screw up a time or two. So look, we've all had our moments. That was my moment. I just had a few more people watching.
It wasn't my best, but hell, let's get it on. We'll be fine. We've had a great week of practice. We can't wait to go.
Q: People talk about coming out of a game like that, how it exposes things that other teams can use ...
RR: Every defense can be exposed when you're not in the right spots and when you have extraordinary talent like that kid [LeSean] McCoy is. That kid, he's special. He looks a bit like LT [LaDanian Tomlinson] back when he was doing his thing, so of course he can make you look bad. They were smart enough to give it to him 30 times in the game, and he's going to have his success.
Lot of that again was we just weren't playing our style of football up to what we usually do. If we had holes in our defense, it would have been exposed a hell of a lot earlier than that. We're a very sound defense. We're one of the top defenses, giving up the fewest big plays. That comes from being sound and playing good run defense.
Did we play good run defense last week? Hell no. That's obvious. We were very poor. But in all the other games, we played really good run defense, and we're going to play good run defense from here on out also.
Q: Why were you so adamant about taking all the blame afterwards? It's not like you made a bad call every play, there were players who didn't make plays too.
RR: Well thanks for noticing that.
Look, I went into the thing and probably gave them a little extra motivation by my comments. And I told everybody before - just no one ever puts it back in there - that an assistant coach shouldn't be doing that. But hell, sometimes I slip one out of there and it gets away from me. So I think I motivated their entire team a little bit extra and probably put a little too much pressure on our guys, which is really not what we want to do.
So that's why I felt the whole thing was my fault, and it really was. There's nobody else to blame but the guy in front of you.
But that doesn't happen very often. It's not going to be a weekly press conference where I screw something up. It's not going to happen. It usually happens the other way around, probably the other guys' locker room where they're crying the next week.
I take a lot of pride in my job, just like you guys do. I'm the best at what I do, same as you guys. That's what happens. Every once in a while, you throw a dud out there.
I mean, hell, you wouldn't be great if you couldn't come back from one bad game.
Q: Does this mean you're going to screw us over and watch your mouth from now on?
RR: Hell, I hope so. I can't make any guarantees about that. Sometimes I say things that apparently other coaches don't, but hell, that's the way it is. I try to say the right thing, but that's usually when I screw up.
Q: How comfortable are you if Sean Lee can't play, leaning on Brooking and James?
RR: We're so fortunate to have the great players that we do. It's been a great situation all year, having three guys like that, but the reality is no one's that lucky. Now we're down to two veterans. We have two real good young guys that were working in there behind them. With Bradie and Brook, they're two excellent pros, they have great communication, they're tough, they do a lot of great things for you.
Are we going to miss Sean? Oh, absolutely. He's a tremendous football player and really is a young guy on the come, but these guys are excellent and they're proven veterans.
Q: Did any of the Philly players say anything to you after the game?
RR: A couple of them said "I love you" and all that. That's the way it is, I'm tight, I've rolled with a few of those guys over there. So that was good.
Slim Shady [McCoy] said something, I think he was happy that I screwed the whole thing up so I'm planning on making it a little tougher for him the next time around obviously.
But they've got a good ballclub. They've got an excellent coach in Andy Reid and their staff's fine, obviously, but ... whatever.
Q: When you went back and watched film, were you content with the effort you saw from your guys?
RR: The whole thing got away from us awfully quick. If our guys didn't want to fight, we gave up only 10 points in the second half, so they were fighting.
We just didn't have a very good night, had a crappy plan and then in mid-stream trying to get that thing adjusted, it wasn't going to be our night. But the thing that I admire is the way our guys keep fighting. We keep trying.
We hadn't given up a third-and-10+ all season. We were number one in the league in that category and we were getting smoked on them. When things go like that, you can't duck and take cover. You've got to keep scrapping, and that's what we did.
Q: When you're a competitor like you are, how difficult is it to hear from the Philly fans?
RR: You can't be in this league if you can't take it. Hell, I kinda had a feeling that was coming my way. It's nothing that other places don't have.
I think when you're out there and you have emotion and you coach with passion, you're going to be a target. When you're BIG, slightly overweight, haven't had a haircut, people take runs at you all the time. And I'm okay with that. I love it. I just take a normal run back at them and don't get too out there like my brother did one time in Miami [link].
Q: You're going to be without Mike Jenkins for a while.
RR: We've been without Terence [Newman], now we're without Mike. Those are great players, but the nice thing is we have five really good corners. And they are so important. Nowadays everybody spreads it out, they go five wides, they do all this, so you really have to have five guys that can play.
And we're fortunate enough that we have Alan Ball and Frank Walker that are outstanding football players, and Sensabaugh can always go into corner if he had to. We're fine in that situation. Will we miss a great football players? Sure. But at this time of the season, everybody's got injuries. That's the way it is and we don't need to make excuses.