Rob Ryan said this is the best defensive coaching staff he has been part of. The Cowboys defensive coordinator loves his players, too.
It's no wonder he has nothing but good things to say about his unit.
The Cowboys rank second in total defense, and it has allowed only 13 touchdowns. (The Cowboys also have given up five return touchdowns.) Yet, they aren't getting much notice nationally, perhaps because of the team's 3-4 record. Most mid-season All-Pro teams are devoid of Cowboys' defenders, including DeMarcus Ware.
"You know me, I like credit," Ryan said. "Our guys, they deserve a ton of credit. Our players work their butts off. Our coaching staff, I’m fortunate and blessed to be around the best coaches. This is the best staff I’ve ever been on, and it’s not close. So good things are going to happen to those that work hard. If we just keep working, we’re going to get better. Despite losing, we’ve lost some really good players, but our guys keep going. We’ve got a whole team in there, not just a few individuals. This is really coming together, and I know we’re going to be special. I think we’re going to be special this week. I really do. I think we’re just starting to get that way, and I believe we’re going to have a special game this week."
The Cowboys are 4-point underdogs to the Falcons, the NFL's last undefeated team. But they have a history of knocking off unbeatens. They beat the 13-0 Saints in 2009 in New Orleans, and they topped the 9-0 Colts at Texas Stadium in 2006.
"We need to win now," Ryan said. "That’s what we’re going to do. I know the record is not what we want it to be, but the ball is bouncing strange ways. When that thing starts evening out, we’re going to be great, and we’re going to keep playing. We’ve got to win this week, and we know it, and we’re going to."
-- Charean Williams