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December 31, 2012

In a roundabout way, Rob Ryan admits injuries caught up to Cowboys: 'Hell of a team that's banged-up'

The Cowboys were so injury-depleted on the defensive front Sunday night, they were having trouble lining up and recognizing plays, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said.

“We knew what that was going to be – a hard day,” Ryan said. “We still could have done a lot better. Could have gotten our fronts checked. We were having trouble checking our fronts. We’re a banged-up group, guys. Hell, we weren’t on point getting our checks, and you need to be against that team.”

The Cowboys gave up 274 yards on the ground to the Redskins. Robert Griffin threw for only 100 yards and ran only six times for 63 yards – reasonable totals, but effective. But rookie running back Alfred Morris had 33 carries for 200 yards.

Morris’ 1-yard touchdown run sealed the game, giving the Redskins a 10-point lead with 1:09 left. The score was set up by a roughing-the-passer penalty that wiped out a third-down incompletion. The Redskins would have had to kick a field goal.

“We thought we were in the game to the end,” Ryan said. “Questionable hit on the quarterback. Whatever. They were grabbing receivers all day, too. But that’s the way it is in this league. It was unfortunate we gave up that last touchdown because I would have liked to have seen our offense with the ball down by six and a chance to go win it.”

Ryan coached a defense that lost six starters and two backups to injury, except in the case of nose tackle Josh Brent, charged with intoxication manslaughter in the death of a teammate.

Ryan was asked if he’d like to coach a healthy defense next season.

“Please,” he said, and laughed ironically. “I’d like to do that. That’d be fun.”

He said he still thought the Cowboys were a top defense.

“It changed a little bit, obviously, by the end,” he said. “But these guys played hard. They gave us everything that they had. But there’s a hell of a football team over there that’s banged up. I know with our offense and with Jason running this thing, I mean, you know, we’re right there, guys. Everybody can see it. We want another chance to do that. But hey, we’ll see what happens.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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