News happens on a daily basis in the NFL Coaching "silly season" and we are right in the middle of it.
The Cowboys continue to attempt to fill in their opening at Defensive Coordinator and Thursday brought us a few new names to ponder as a few others fell off the board.
Rob Ryan and Ray Horton were both introduced into our consciousness as possible candidates, with Ryan expected to interview for the position on Friday according to Gerry Fraley.
To visit with Horton, they would have to wait for the Pittsburgh Steelers season to end, as he is currently their DB coach. Horton has never held a defensive coordinator position, so going with him would constitute some level of faith that he is ready to leave the Dick LeBeau fold. He has been with LeBeau at both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
Back to Ryan. First off, he has 1 more year on his contract in Cleveland, but as I write this, there is no indication that Cleveland is too concerned with his future as their new coach Pat Shurmur has something else in mind. Reports there indicate that Shurmur and Mike Holmgren are ready to go get Dick Jauron to run their defense.
For the Cowboys, of all of the names that have been mentioned so far, I think this one will get the excitement level up a bit higher for most. Charisma and name value are items Ryan has in high supply, but let us examine his defense's performances over his 7 NFL seasons as a Defensive Coordinator at 2 stops:
Oakland Raiders 2004-2008 - Under Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, and Tom Cable
|2004||27.6 (31st)||25 (31st)||18 (30th)|
|2005||23.9 (25th)||36 (18th)||19 (29th)|
|2006||20.8 (18th)||34 (19th)||23 (27th)|
|2007||24.9 (26th)||27 (28th)||26 (21st)|
|2008||24.3 (24th)||32 (13th)||24 (17th)|
It is really difficult to measure his tenures in Oakland and Cleveland. The easiest way to see this reality is to name his best pass rusher for his 7 years as a DC. In Oakland, was it Tommy Kelly? Derrick Burgess? Old Warren Sapp joined him in 2006, but the personnel has not been present in Oakland for quite some time and yet most across the league thought Rob Ryan was doing a decent job with what he had despite the numbers not making anyone quake in their boots. With the chaos in the Oakland organization (4 coaches in 5 seasons with no seasons with more than 5 wins), I am not sure what to make of these rankings. It is worth noting, though, that for a short while, Nmandi Asomugha combined with Charles Woodson to put together what should have been the best CB tandem of the era, but it never really panned out. Woodson obviously just wanted a change of scenery by the time Asomugha was emerging.
Cleveland Browns 2009-2010 - Under Eric Mangini
|2009||23.4 (21st)||40 (29th)||19 (31st)|
|2010||20.8 (13th)||29 (25th)||28 (13th)|
In Cleveland, he had no pass rushers again. Kamerion Wimbley? After his 2009, they felt so strongly about his work that they traded him to Oakland for a 3rd Rounder (Colt McCoy). A fun exercise is to see how many Browns defenders you can name from the 2010 season before we calculate how good he was there. To suggest they had a very anonymous group that actually showed some nice gains from 2009 would be an understatement. Do you know who the Browns leading pass rusher in 2010 was? Marcus Bernard. Really.
I am very interested in his style of aggressive and attacking defense. He has never had a pass rusher like DeMarcus Ware to play with, and I am rather confident in saying the Cowboys have plenty of talent to work with by his standards in Cleveland and Oakland. They have issues, but I would love to see what Ryan can do with Ware and Anthony Spencer on the edge; Sean Lee and Bradie James in the middle; Jay Ratliff on the line; and Mike Jenkins and Terrence Newman at the corners. They are still short a few lineman and a couple safeties, in my estimation, but I still say this would be the best talent he has had to deal with.
I realize it might seem rather odd to hire Buddy Ryan's son with all of the history his Dad has in Dallas, but I would say this is the most intriguing of the names that have been discussed so far.
But, I do believe we must consider the fact that the Cowboys do not appear to be in a real rush, and are left to wonder if they are stalling for someone still alive in the playoffs.