Rob Ryan is at it again. The defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys has always been very vocal in the media. Ryan doesn't hold back from saying what is on his mind. You really can't blame him because It's just part of the way he is wired. One glance over his family history will give you a pretty clear picture of what to expect from Rob. (You can read about that history in this article).
While the offense has struggled all season long, the defense has been more consistent. Ryan may not be able to brag about his defense being the best in the league, but he does have a unit that is ranked seventh overall in total defense. Ryan's exotic 3-4 defense has always been interesting to watch. His personality rubs off on the way he coaches, but there are times where we see Ryan play too conservative. Last Sunday, Ryan decided to lay off on the blitzes against rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. If he decides to do that again, then the rookie quarterback they face on Thursday will give them a whole lot of trouble.
This is a huge game for the Dallas Cowboys. They find themselves in a key position to make a playoff run, but they must start by beating the Washington Redskins at home. The Redskins aren't exactly a powerhouse, but they do present a difficult challenge for the Cowboys. Robert Griffin III is playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now. The rookie quarterback from Baylor found himself entering the league with a lot of hype surrounding him, but so far he is living up to that hype.
So what does Rob Ryan think about the young and talented quarterback that he is going to face on Thanksgiving? Ryan had some interesting things to say about RG3.
"He is a special player," Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said. "That’s why they traded half a team to get him. Obviously, he’s a tremendous athlete and they say he is a hell of a kid. I don’t like him, but I know he is very talented. This game looks like it’s in slow-motion for him already and hopefully we speed it up a whole lot this week."
The Redskins traded three first-round picks and one second-round pick in order to move up in the 2012 NFL Draft. It may be a questionable move, but it's very hard to find a franchise quarterback. If you can secure that position for the next decade, then you go ahead and make the costly move.
Even though Ryan may not like RG3, he definitely respects him. When you see a rookie quarterback who is not playing like a rookie, then you have to give the kid some respect. Griffin has thrown 12 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions this season. He is also completing 67.5 percent of his passes and has a 101.0 passer rating. On the ground, Griffin has 613 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Dallas defense will be facing a very dangerous quarterback who can get it done through the air and on the ground.
I am not sure if Ryan will come after RG3 and blitz him, but I hope he does. He opted not to do that against Weeden and drop back into coverage. Whatever Ryan decides to do in this game, he will need to be careful. The best course of action may be blending in some blitzes that force RG3 into making a quick decision. Ryan talked about playing against RG3 and stressed that importance of playing smart football.
"It’s hard to blitz a guy when you got to keep your option responsibility," Ryan said. "When you start going off on it like that, it’s a great thing to do when it’s pass and when they don’t block it. But you have to be smart. You have got to pick your spots or those go for 76 yards like they did against Minnesota. We don’t like to play that way. We like to limit the big plays, get after them. The big thing is we have to hit these guys hard. That’s the big thing. We have big football players out there on defense and we plan on hitting them hard. And that’s what is going to happen."
The Cowboys must play a physical game. If they come out and play physical from the start of the game, then they may gain an edge over the Redskins. Griffin has been beat up all season long. One area that he still has a lot of learning to do is running out of bounds. Griffin stands in at 6-2 and 217 pounds. He doesn't possess the big body of a Cam Newton, so the hits are going to take a toll on his body.
If the Cowboys don't generate a better pass rush, then RG3 will eat them alive. We gave Weeden too much time to throw the ball and he only registered 210 passing yards. If RG3 gets the same amount of time, he will have a huge day statistically. Get after this kid and hit him, but just do it smart. We can't afford to get any roughing the passer penalties, so keep those hands below the head. The Cowboys must do a good of limiting the big plays when things break down. If the defense shuts down Griffin when he scrambles, then the Cowboys will have a great chance to win this game.