When Jerry Jones said there would be several big changes during the offseason, most of us wondered if he was talking about the status of head coach Jason Garrett. Some wondered if he was talking about Tony Romo while and a thought that came to many of us was, “Is Jerry blowing smoke trying to stir the pot?”
We saw the first of who knows how many changes when the Cowboys let go of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. This raised several questions. Why? Who’s going to replace him? Will the Cowboys stay with the 3-4 defense?
Vinnie Iyer, NFL beat writer for Sporting News came on the Hague Sports Podcast and said perhaps Ryan took the blame for the defensive injuries.
“I think if you looked at this defense down the stretch, they really struggled but really if you look at it, there are a lot of injuries that happened,” Iyer said. “Sean Lee was a huge loss at inside linebacker and Jay Ratliff was later in the season. They couldn’t quite stay healthy anywhere on that defense. So I think someone had to take the fall for that and I don’t know if he was the right guy but I just don’t think they liked the results from the last two years with the way the defense was not making plays the way they expected.”
Jones however claimed it wasn’t about the injuries.
“I didn’t like the way we were playing in a lot of cases,” Jones said in a taped interview that KTVT-TV aired Wednesday, via ESPNDallas.com. “I thought we could play better before the injuries, and so I factored that in. It wasn’t like we had a lot of injuries out here when we played Chicago. It wasn’t like we had a lot of injuries when we played Seattle. I didn’t like the way we played there. It’s not hard for me to go to those games and say what can we do to improve when we played Seattle and when we played Chicago, and I liked the way we played in subsequent games, and I know we didn’t have the talent level on the field that we had when we played Seattle and Chicago.”
Iyer also talked about the idea of a new defensive coordinator switching the Cowboys defense to a 4-3.
“Maybe that’s the way they need to go and reassess who they have,” he said. “I know that would mean changing positions for a guy like DeMarcus Ware who has been more of a 3-4 outside linebacker throughout his career but you look at some of the personnel, you look at Sean Lee and you look at Bruce Carter, it might be a better fit in that 4-3 with the three linebacker depth that they have and go from there. I think they could still be very productive with who they have.”
Iyer did say however that because the Cowboys will have to go all out if they’re to be contenders next season perhaps making such a drastic change such as moving to the 4-3 might not be the best idea just yet.
Regardless, the defensive coordinator is just the first major change. We’ll see who Jones brings in to replace Ryan, what kind of changes that replacement will make and what other big changes might be in store for Big D.
To hear the interview in its entirety and more, visit the podcast page or the Blog Talk Radio page.