Rob Ryan

During the course of this blog, I plan to look back on the 2010 season to do a recap.  A lot happened this past season, some good, mostly bad.  I’ll get to that soon enough, but there is something more timely to address in this posting.  Rumor has it that the Cowboys have named Rob Ryan as the new defensive coordinator.  However, according to the Dallas Cowboys official team website, nothing official has been announced.

Ryan has been the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns the past two seasons (his brother Rex Ryan is the head coach of the New York Jets, who will face Pittsburgh in the AFC championship game next weekend).  His first season there, the Browns finished 31st (out of 32 teams) in yards per game allowed, while finishing 21st in points per game allowed.  This season, the team showed improvement in both areas, finishing 22nd in ypg allowed and 13th in ppg allowed.

Eric Mangini had been the head coach of the Browns for the past two years as well, but after finishing 5-11 both years, he was let go.  The Browns recently hired former Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to be their head coach, and Mangini’s assistants are not likely to be retained.

The reason the Cowboys need a new defensive coordinator is because, they too have undergone a coaching change this off-season.  Former offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was promoted to head coach following a stint as the interim head coach the second half of the season.  Former head coach Wade Phillips was let go after a dismal 1-7 start to the season.  Phillips served as defensive coordinator as well during his last two years in Dallas.  He is now the defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans.

New head coach Jason Garrett (Left) and former head coach Wade Phillips.

After Phillips was fired, defensive assistant Paul Pasqualoni was promoted to defensive coordinator for the second half of the season.  However, he was recently hired to be the new head coach at the University of Connecticut, which had a vacancy once Randy Edsall left to coach at the University of Maryland, which also had a vacancy once Ralph Friedgen was let go (you get all that?).

Anyway, the big question is whether or not Ryan can help the Cowboys’ defense make some improvement.  For all the talent this team has on both sides of the ball, the defense was not very good this season.  In 2009, the Cowboys were 9th in the NFL in yards per game allowed, while ranking 2nd in the league in points per game allowed.  This season, they regressed to 23rd in ypg allowed and 31st in ppg allowed.

I’ve been reading that even if Dallas does hire Ryan, he might not stay long.  He is looking to become a head coach, like his brother.  So far, the opportunity has not been there, but if he does well enough in Dallas, he might not have to wait much longer.