Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan knows how to motivate his unit. But it's not only his salty language and the "multiplicity" of his defense that fires up his defenders. During meetings Thursday, the Cowboys saw a video of champions, including Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Mario Lemieux and the 1985 Chicago Bears.
"It was all great athletes, champions from the past, and it showed them in their prime, in their glory," Cowboys second-year linebacker Sean Lee. "You could see how much fun it would be to be a champion. That was the message: Just what it takes to be a champion and look how good it could be to be a champion.
"Coach Ryan has two rings. He’s been with champions, and he knows what it takes. To have him show that video was big for us. I think that’s our step that we’re trying to head to."
The Cowboys already love playing for Ryan, who recruited two of his former players -- Kenyon Coleman and Abe Elam. With most of the team's defensive starters back from last season, it's Ryan and his scheme that the Cowboys are hoping will improve a defense that gave up the most points (436) and the most yards (5,628) in team history a year ago.
"You love to play for the guy," Elam said. "He’s a fiery guy. He always has his players’ back and is a guy who always wants to see you do well. What more can you ask for?"
-- Charean Williams