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December 21, 2012

Now that Rob Ryan knows all his players' names, his defense is playing better

The Cowboys have allowed 21.5 points and 362 yards per game in their past two games despite missing starters Bruce Carter, Sean Lee, Jay Ratliff, Kenyon Coleman, Barry Church, and last week, Morris Claiborne. That was a big improvement over the previous five games when they allowed 26.6 points and 398.6 yards per game.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said there is a reason: He knows his defensive personnel better.

“We did struggle for a few weeks to kind of identify who we are,” he said Friday. “I feel better. I think I’m calling a better game now that I understand our guys a little better.”

Ryan said it took time to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the new players such as linebackers Ernie Sims and Brady Poppinga, safety Eric Frampton, cornerbacks Michael Coe and Sterling Moore and nose tackle Brian Schaefering.

“I think we’re doing better now,” Ryan said. “Just from watching them on tape, being around them, you kind of figure out who they are.”

The Cowboys have something of a modern-day no-name defense, but Ryan said he knows all his players' names.

"Yes, but don’t quiz me," he said, laughing. "I’m just kidding."

-- Charean Williams



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