Rob Ryan Leaves a Big Void

When Jerry Jones told the public on his weekly radio show that things were “going to be uncomfortable” at Valley Ranch this offseason, Cowboys fans were understandably skeptical. We’re used to promises of change, but receiving the same 8-8 seasons.

When Skip Peete was fired on Monday, I was worried that firing the running backs coach was the culmination of Jones’s promises. Yes, the running game hasn’t been what it should be–even when Jason Garrett remembers to call run plays in the second half. Is it Skip’s fault that DeMarco Murray can’t stay healthy? Did Skip ask for interior offensive linemen better suited to work mall security than opening holes for an NFL team? Doubtful. Sometimes change is needed, even for change’s sake. Just to show that (finally) mediocrity isn’t going to be accepted. Now, we finally recognize that running the same plays with the same players and coaches is the definition of insanity. Better late than never?

But now real change has happened. Rob Ryan fired Tuesday evening, paying the price for blitzing too much in 2011 and not enough in 2012. He had one year left on his contract. Was it another Peete move, just to show that heads are rolling? No one will know until we see next years unit on the field, but I think that the defense could easily regress next year if the right replacement isn’t chosen. Until tonight, I was hoping that Ryan had gone too hot his first year with too many crazy blitzes and then over-corrected in 2012. I had dreams of timely pressure with a secondary to cover the back end. Now, who knows what we’ll see.

I don’t want to waste (more) words talking about someone who isn’t a part of this organization any longer, but I don’t last year was completely his fault. He shouldn’t be running guys off the street into the NFC East championship game. Hard to be effective in those conditions. But, this wasn’t an elite unit when everyone was healthy–Seattle game, case in point.

Looking forward I’m leaning towards wanting Dallas to move to a 4-3. I usually prefer a 3-4 so ill explain my conversion later in the offseason. But looking back at the Rob Ryan era, the cause of the failure might be harder to understand than his “revolutionary” scheme.