George: Rob Ryan on his head coaching prospects … ‘that’s going to happen’
IRVING – If you’re a fan of first-year coordinator Rob Ryan, it’s probably a good idea to pull against the Cowboys’ defense the last two games of the season.
Confused? Let me explain.
The Cowboys’ defense was shredded by Philadelphia and the Giants the first time Dallas played each team this season. The Eagles picked apart the Cowboys in a 34-7 win in Philly in late October. Two weeks ago, the Giants became the first team to ever have a 400-yard passer, 100-yard runner and 100-yard receiver against the Cowboys in the same game.
Now, Ryan gets a chance to show how good of a defensive coordinator he is with rematches against both NFC East rivals to close the regular season.
If the defense responds with good performances in wins for the Cowboys to get them into the playoffs, there’s a good chance Ryan’s first year in Dallas will be his last.
Ryan would make himself even that much more of an attractive option for an NFL team looking for a head coach. Jacksonville, Miami and Kansas City already have coaching openings. Tampa Bay, which has lost eight consecutive games, could soon follow.
That would mean three openings in Florida, and Ryan already has that beach bum look to him.
Ryan has expressed his desire more than once this season that he wants to be a head coach in the NFL, following in the footsteps of his father, Buddy, and his twin brother, Rex.
Ryan hasn’t gone out of his way to make it a distraction but simply answered questions when they were asked.
Even Cowboys players this season have said that Ryan will soon be a head coach in the NFL.
“That’s great, but the bottom line is we’re here together to win a championship and that’s why Jason Garrett hired me and that’s why Jerry [Jones] hired me,” Ryan said recently. “That’s what we’re going to do. Trust me, I’m not all motivated just to be a head coach because, hey, that’s going to happen.
“I love it here. I love these guys. Everything is great. Bottom line is we’re real happy here. My family is happy here. We want to win and we got the players to do it.”
Q: Why do network cameras always seem to focus on Jason Garrett or Rob Ryan when they are calling plays? Very seldom, if ever, do they focus on opposing coaches. Jason and Rob do not cover their mouth when calling plays.
John Evins, Corpus Christi
GEORGE: Network TV cameras will always focus on the Cowboys head coach and, of course, Rob Ryan is a lightning rod because of his outspoken ways and long-haired look. The Cowboys get more TV time for sure because they’re a ratings draw.
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Q: What happened in Philadelphia on Oct. 30, and what adjustments can and should be made to avoid the same result?
Zachary Kretchmer, Minneapolis, Minnesota
GEORGE: The Cowboys just didn’t come ready to play at Philadelphia and were exposed in almost every way. It was a perfect storm for Philly, which had to win to keep its playoff hopes alive and had a bye before playing the Cowboys. Plus, they had extra motivation because of what Rob Ryan had said in training camp about them being the “all-hype” team and “we’re going to kick their [butt].” The Cowboys’ run defense struggled and their secondary played off the ball as the defense brought blitzes. The Cowboys will likely not blitz as much this time around and move the safeties up to cover the middle of the field and add run support to slow RB LeSean McCoy and contain QB Michael Vick. This time around, the Cowboys should be the more-motivated team.
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Q: The quick slant to Dez Bryant seemed to work very well last weekend and should be almost impossible to cover if he gets inside position on the defensive back. I don’t think Tony Romo is comfortable throwing it, though. Any idea why?
Leigh Buchalter, Plantation, Fla.
GEORGE: I think Romo is comfortable making that pass. He has a quick release and is accurate. The Cowboys have used the slant more as the season has progressed. One concern on running slants is when a receiver stops on the route or doesn’t get off the ball and away from the cornerback quick enough. Those quick passes in those situations can lead to tipped balls for interceptions. Bryant sometimes struggles running precise routes and that’s a concern on slants. He certainly has the athletic talent to make that catch a majority of the time, however, if the timing is there.
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Q: Of the players drafted after the 1990s Super Bowl run, who would you pick for the Ring of Honor?
Bob Starnes, Lake Dallas
GEORGE: You said your picks were LB DeMarcus Ware and TE Jason Witten. Those two would top my list as well. Ware is going to rank among the NFL’s all-time best in sacks when his career is over. Witten will rank as one of the most-prolific tight ends to ever play the game when he’s finished wearing the blue star on his helmet. You can’t go wrong with those two on or off the field.
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Q: Why is accidentally falling down after a chest bump to celebrate a touchdown a penalty and jumping into the stands (any Green Bay player) or doing pelvic thrusts (Giants RB Brandon Jacobs) over the Dallas Cowboys star in the end zone considered OK?
John Bonny, San Antonio
GEORGE: It’s really at the discretion of each individual referee. What the official considers excessive celebration will draw a 15-yard penalty. You can’t use the football as a prop, for example. Sometimes, what an official believes is excessive celebration wouldn’t be viewed that way by most of the public and vice versa. Like many other decisions by NFL officials, it comes down to a judgment call.