IRVING, Texas – Rob Ryan took all the blame for the defensive debacle in Philadelphia, but he was wrong in doing so.
That’s according to DeMarcus Ware, one of the few Dallas defensive players who performed well in the lopsided loss to the Eagles.
“He’s not going to let his players take the blame for what happened, but it’s partially on everybody,” said Ware, who had a career-high four sacks in the game. “We’re not going to let him down anymore.”
Ryan readily admitted Eagles coach Andy Reid “kicked my ass,” consistently making calls to expose weaknesses in the Cowboys’ defensive game plan. And he was right. Philadelphia frequently got LeSean McCoy loose by calling run plays to spots vacated by blitzes or movement on the defensive line and picked apart the Cowboys’ deep Cover 2 zone with intermediate routes across the middle.
However, there were also plenty of occasion when defenders failed to make plays when they were in good position.
“I think regardless it’s all 50/50 – 50 on coaches, 50 on players,” Ware said. “But it’s up to the players to execute and make plays. We didn’t do that last week. We’re surely going to do that this week. We’ve corrected everything we need to correct.”
IRVING — The Ryan brothers are at it again.
Prior to the Cowboys-Eagles game, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan did an interview with NBC’s Al Michaels and said he would be a better head coach than his twin brother, Rex, who coaches the New York Jets.
Michaels asked Rob Ryan when he goes on head coaching interviews does it help or hurt him that Rex is his brother?
“Well I am his twin brother, I’m sure it can’t hurt,” Rob Ryan said. “I know he’s one of the more recognizable head coaches in football this year and things like that, but he’s also gone to two AFC championship games in a row and I don’t think anybody else can say that. He’s had an opportunity and he’s done great with it. I’ll be better than him, so I’ll get my chance.”
On Thursday, Rex Ryan responded by saying: “Hopefully one day we get to find out. I hope he does get the opportunity to be a head coach. Rob is a great coach, and he certainly wants that opportunity, as every coach in this league wants that opportunity. But you know what, at the end of the day, he’s not going to be quite as good as his brother.”
“I don’t know, because all I’m doing is basing it on facts. When we were kids, my batting average was a little higher than his, okay. The only thing he’s got on me is probably test scores, academic test score, but other than that, from an athletic standpoint or something like that, I think I’ve always been able to be just a little bit better. But I hope he gets that opportunity. I’m sure he’ll be a great head coach, I really do. ”
If you subscribe to the “takes one to know one” theory then comments made by former Cowboys great Rayfield Wright when talking about rookie tackle Tyron Smith have to be encouraging.
Wright, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor at Cowboys Stadium, said he’s kept his eye on the Cowboys’ rookie right tackle this year and so far, he loves what he sees.
“I’ve been watching him the entire season,” Wright said at the Cowboys’ Legends radio show with Nate Newton Wednesday night in Arlington. “It’s very interesting for him to be as young as he is and for him to perform the way he’s performing. When he first started out, there were some missteps there and the quickness of his setup. But as games continued to progress you can see a big change in him.”
So Rayfield, just how good can Tyron Smith be?
“I think he’s going to be one of the greatest tackles, outside of myself,” Wright said with a laugh. “He’s awesome. He’s playing really good football right now. I really like how he’s moving his feet. Footwork has been excellent.”
Smith has started all seven games this year and has experienced more trouble lately, allowing a team-high 5 ½ sacks. But it seems clear, at least to one Hall of Famer, that the Cowboys 20-year-old right tackle is certainly on the right track.
Jason Witten called it a “top offense” over the last few years. QB coach Wade Wilson referred to it as an “attacking-style.”
The Cowboys rank eighth in the NFL in total offense and seventh in the passing game. Yet, there haven’t been many big plays in recent weeks, and just six plays of 40 yards or more this year.
Last week, in the middle of a disastrous game in Philly, Tony Romo hooked up with Laurent Robinson on a 70-yard bomb for the team’s only touchdown.
It was the longest pass play from scrimmage in nearly a month and since Miles Austin’s 53-yard touchdown against the 49ers in Week Two, the Cowboys have just three passing plays of 50 yards or more. The players catching those passes . . . that’d be Jesse Holley and two to Robinson, who wasn’t even on the roster to start the season.
It’s obvious the Cowboys are having problems not only getting the ball down the field, but into the hands of Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. In Sunday’s game in Philly, the two starting receivers didn’t just go without a catch in the first half, but not a single pass was thrown in their direction.
When asked about the team’s inability to stretch the field lately, a few different reasons have surfaced. One of them has been the nature of the games. The Cowboys played a tight, more-conservative approach in New England, followed by a game with the Rams in which the running game did all the work.
“We still want to be an attacking style of offense, but these last couple weeks . . . “ Wilson said. “St. Louis we really didn’t have to throw the ball down the field and then this past week we got behind so far and they were taking deep throws away. It’s something that kind of goes in cycles throughout the season.”
When asked about not taking as many down-the-field shots, Romo called the notion “silly” and said it’s always in the game plan.
“It’s the opponents you’re going against,” Romo said. (If) you have more time, you’re able to take shots down field. When you have less…that’s part of it. When you’re running the ball well you’re able to take more. There’s a lot that goes into it. We’re always pushing the ball down the field. From week to week, that will vary here and there.”
Right guard Kyle Kosier (foot) was limited in practice Thursday. He missed practice for the first time this season on Wednesday, resting his plantar fascia.
“He got through most everything,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “I thought he had a good practice. …Today, he came back and had a pretty full practice and seemed like he was moving around OK.”
Nothing else changed on the practice report.
Linebacker Sean Lee (wrist), cornerback Mike Jenkins (hamstring) and running back Felix Jones (ankle) did not practice. Jenkins likely will miss the next three games. Jones could miss his third consecutive game as he recovers from a high-ankle sprain. Lee hopes to play with a cast, and the Cowboys are holding out hope that the swelling will subside enough to fit him for a cast. But chances are good he could miss his first game of the season.
Punter Mat McBriar, who has nerve damage in his left (plant) foot, was limited again in practice. Quarterback Tony Romo (ribs) had a full practice.
Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee hasn’t practiced this week, and it still seems unlikely he’ll play Sunday against the Seahawks. But the Cowboys are fitting his dislocated left wrist with a cast.
“Typically what happens is there are a lot of different iterations of that thing. What is comfortable? What feels good?” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “And you kind of keep working through those kinds of things.”
Lee consulted with Dr. Bo Frederick, a Dallas hand and wrist specialist, on Monday. The doctor determined Lee’s wrist does not need immediate surgery, which would end Lee’s season.
But there is a good chance that Lee, who leads the team with 73 tackles, misses at least this week.
Bradie James and Keith Brooking will fill in for Lee, but the Cowboys also are trying to get second-round pick Bruce Carter familiar enough with the defense to give him some plays in relief of the veterans.