After one season watching new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he has not lost confidence in him. In fact, the reshaping of the defense in the offseason was made with Ryan's scheme in mind.
“Rob’s skills, the things that he brings to the table, are easily bought into,” Jones said last week at the Cowboys sponsor appreciation golf tournament in Grapevine. “And we did, we have, and we continue to buy into those.”
Jones said another thing he likes about Ryan is that he adjusts well during games, and that this year, the Cowboys made an effort to give him options for those adjustments.
“To be really fair about it, and fair on judgment, we have to look specifically where we had our biggest breakdowns, and we’ve got to make sure that we’ve matched up good with the teams that gave us our biggest problems,” Jones said. “As it turns out, it was the New Yorks, the Philadelphias, and if you will, Washington played a good game against us, too.
“So it’s in our division. So what you saw from us during the offseason, personnel-wise, is matching up,” Jones said.
The Cowboys traded up for the top cornerback (and top defender) in the draft, LSU’s Morris Claiborne. Their No. 1 free agent target was cornerback Brandon Carr. The team also signed a free agent safety, Brodney Pool, and drafted a safety, Matt Johnson, in the fourth round, to go with veteran strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh and backups Barry Church and Danny McCray.
The Cowboys also signed four undrafted cornerbacks (and have since released one), have another from the practice squad last year (Mario Butler) and moved a receiver (Teddy Williams) to corner.
That is a lot of new DB blood to work with for Ryan and new secondary coach Jerome Henderson.
“Where I’m coming from there is, it just isn’t about personnel at all, but it is also about education, how well those players understand the schemes and then also a real good coaching job of how much to give those players so they can go out there and perform instinctively,” Jones said. “That’s all a mouthful, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in Rob Ryan and the defense and the defense we’ll have. You want to get all of Rob you can possibly get and his philosophy.”
Jones acknowledged that Ryan’s defense has risks. But he brought up his quarterback’s name in comparing that idea that high risk brings high reward.
“It’s a little like Romo – you want to basically be able to get it in a way that is sound and wins ballgames,” Jones said. “And some of the things that he wants to do – bring it – we want to do. That’s why we went to the defense. We’ve got some guys back here in the secondary now that can go up and get it when it’s not thrown exactly perfect. I think that’s going to help us out, help us execute the defense, along with the adjustments he and Jason are making.”
-- Carlos Mendez