RICK GOSSELIN: Rob Ryan hasn’t raised his coaching to level of his opponents

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob-Ryan focusing

Rick Gosselin, sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News and SportsDayDFW.com, answered readers’ questions about the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL.

Click on Read More to read the entire transcript.

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Live chat: Rick Gosselin answers your Cowboys/NFL questions

(12/26/2011)

9:55

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SportsDayDFW.com:

Rick Gosselin joins us at 11 a.m., but ask your questions now and he will have them when he arrives. Thanks for your readership!

Monday December 26, 2011 9:55 SportsDayDFW.com

10:58

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Rick Gosselin:

Welcome back to the chat room, folks. Let’s hope this chat doesn’t unravel today like the Cowboys season has… So let’s get started.

Monday December 26, 2011 10:58 Rick Gosselin

10:58

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[Comment From golden 83golden 83: ]

seems like a lot of hype about nothing . this team has won ONE playoff game since Romo was the starter.

Monday December 26, 2011 10:58 golden 83

11:01

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Rick Gosselin:

Playoffs are a sign of progress. You’ve put yourself in a position to compete for a Super Bowl. Only 12 teams are allowed into that fraternity every season. So an NFC East title and playoff berth would be a sign of progress. That said, does this look like a playoff team to you? This marks the first time in the history of the NFC East that its champion didn’t win at least 10 games. Giants or Cowboys, it doesn’t matter. The champion would become the fourth seed but should be the sixth seed on merit.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:01 Rick Gosselin

11:01

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[Comment From tgtg: ]

How can Jerry Jones not see that coming to the sidelines, to lecture his coach, places JG in a no-win situation. This continual unawareness of his words & actions is mind-boggling.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:01 tg

11:05

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Rick Gosselin:

I couldn’t agree more. For Jones to say he went to the sideline to relay vital information to Garrett doesn’t fly with me. First off, you can reach Garrett on a coaching headset. Jones should have left his luxury suite for the coaching booth if he wanted to relay any information to Garrett. His presence wasn’t required on the field for any photo ops. Secondly, Garrett is a Princeton grad. He was arguably the smartest guy in the building Saturday night. And Jones felt compelled to tell him the Giants won, that the Eagles game was meaningless and that he should rest his stars? I find that insulting to Garrett’s intelligence..

Monday December 26, 2011 11:05 Rick Gosselin

11:05

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[Comment From tgtg: ]

I know you have stated that this would be a rebuilding year so an 8-8 or 9-7 record is what was expected….did you expect the defense to be this poor? It seems they are 5-7 players away which places them at the end of Romo’s prime years

Monday December 26, 2011 11:05 tg

11:10

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Rick Gosselin:

I thought this would be the first year of a three-year rebuilding plan. The offense was handled in the first year, the defense in 2012 and any final tweaks would come in 2013 when I expected the Cowboys to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. That said, I am surprised how poorly the Cowboys have played on defense this season. I thought Rob Ryan would supply some aggression and swagger. I didn’t expect a complete lack of results. Aside from Jay Ratliff, DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee, I think there’s blanket underachievement on that side of the ball. The Cowboys desperately needed a complement to Ware in the pass rush and it never materialized. Trent Cole makes NFL sack leader Jason Babin a better pass rusher for Philadelphia and vice versa. Everything Ware has done this season has been done in the face of double-teams on his own. He needs help. But the secondary needs to be addressed immediately. Two new cornerbacks and a safety are mandatory for the Cowboys to take the next step in the direction of playoff contention.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:10 Rick Gosselin

11:10

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[Comment From Marc W.Marc W.: ]

If the Cowboys lose to the Giants Sun. night, are the Cowboys out -of the Super bowl playoffs? Thanks

Monday December 26, 2011 11:10 Marc W.

11:12

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Rick Gosselin:

The Cowboys would be out on merit with an 8-8 record. In my opinion, teams with .500 records should not be allowed to compete for Lombardi Trophies in any scenario.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:12 Rick Gosselin

11:12

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[Comment From SOSSOS: ]

Do you think the NFL will ever institute a rule where the owner stays off the field until after the game instead of just going down there like J-boy does just to make it seem like he is contributing?

Monday December 26, 2011 11:12 SOS

11:14

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Rick Gosselin:

These are rich guys who spent a lot of money for the right to walk the sidelines. If the NFL ever implemented a rule to keep owners off the sidelines, those same owners might oust Roger Goodell as commissioner. Remember, the teams are the NFL — not the league office. The league office works for the owners — not the other way around.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:14 Rick Gosselin

11:14

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[Comment From johnjohn: ]

with a suspect qb and montrae holland may not play and a iffy running back and a very weak secondary . we don’t stand a chance of beating NY. even the NY beat writer myers says Dallas is a blunder team, and i have to agree. I’m a Dallas fan

Monday December 26, 2011 11:14 john

11:16

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Rick Gosselin:

The Giants will be favored and rightfully so. When the Giants have their backs against the wall and absolutely need to win a game, they find a way. They did it against the Cowboys in the first meeting and they did it against the Jets last weekend. Either game — and the Giants were underdog in both — would have ended New York’s playoff chase. But the Giants found a way to win and stay alive. I would expect the Giants to do the same this Sunday.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:16 Rick Gosselin

11:16

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[Comment From johnjohn: ]

jets have a better secondary then we have and the giants still dominated, I pity our secondary eli will eat them up. i look forward to the draft. hopefully jj will open his eyes and draft some young dominate players

Monday December 26, 2011 11:16 john

11:19

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Rick Gosselin:

I wouldn’t say the Giants dominated the Jets secondary. Eli Manning was only 9 of 27 passing. But he hit the big one he needed — that 99-yarder to Victor Cruz that scored New York’s first touchdown and got them in the game. But Manning did dominate the Dallas secondary in the last meeting, throwing for 400 yards. For Dallas to take the same secondary into this game does not inspire much confidence in me.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:19 Rick Gosselin

11:19

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[Comment From Mario NajeraMario Najera: ]

Rick, since Jenkins started playing in Dec., we have lost 3 out of 4 games, is he a jinx.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:19 Mario Najera

11:21

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Rick Gosselin:

For the Cowboys to survive with this secondary, they need a dynamic pass rush. They need at least a five-sack game — and they’ve had only two of those this season. Pass defense looks a whole lot better when there’s a pass rush. When Manning threw for those 400 yards in that first meeting, the Cowboys didn’t sack him a single time. If the New York blocking front pitches another shutout, the Cowboys will again go down in flames.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:21 Rick Gosselin

11:22

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[Comment From A.J. LeskoA.J. Lesko: ]

It seems that Cowboys defense has regressed during the season. Is it the injuries that have hampered the team or it there just not enough play makers to fully utilize Coach Ryans

Monday December 26, 2011 11:22 A.J. Lesko

11:27

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Rick Gosselin:

I think once the league got enough game tape to figure out what Ryan was doing with his scheme and these players, the Cowboys became more predictable on defense. There is some excellent coaching in this league. The more tape you watch of any player or any scheme, the better feel you get for that player or that scheme. Ryan hasn’t elevated his coaching to meet the challenge — and neither have his players their play. Ryan has had some success with his scheme in the past, so they’ll be an effort to give him more and better players in 2012. Remember, he didn’t have the benefit of an offseason program to implement his scheme and figure out which players fit it best. That all came about during the season. Lately there have been more lows than highs. All in all, this defense has been a story of underachievement all season, both as coaches and players.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:27 Rick Gosselin

11:27

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[Comment From Keith GolembeskiKeith Golembeski: ]

Hi Rick- Do you think Jerry Jones will hire Norv Turner to be the Cowboy OC if he gets fired in SD ?

Monday December 26, 2011 11:27 Keith Golembeski

11:29

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Rick Gosselin:

No. Jones has said time and again he trusts Garrett in that dual capacity. Personally, I think the positions should be separate. I think both are full time jobs. But I don’t run the Cowboys. Jerry Jones does. Doing it his way, Garrett has the Cowboys playing for the division title on the final weekend of the season. Because of that, Jones will not feel the need to change in 2012. I would expect Garrett back as both the head coach and play-caller.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:29 Rick Gosselin

11:29

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[Comment From joejoe: ]

is tony romo playing on Sunday?

Monday December 26, 2011 11:29 joe

11:31

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Rick Gosselin:

Won’t know until at least Friday to see how much the swelling has gone down. His hand was pretty puffy when he left Cowboys Stadium last weekend. The medical staff is going to be putting in a full week trying to get Romo’s hand to a point that it can take snaps and grip the football to pass. If Romo can grip the ball, he’s going to want to play. And the Cowboys won’t say no.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:31 Rick Gosselin

11:31

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[Comment From chris 39chris 39: ]

Is there any reason to believe that this defense can actually step up and help win this game?

Monday December 26, 2011 11:31 chris 39

11:33

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Rick Gosselin:

This defense has blown fourth quarter leads of 17, 14 and 12 points this season in losing games. Does that instill much confidence in you? Me, neither.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:33 Rick Gosselin

11:33

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[Comment From chrischris: ]

if this Defense lose this game all the blame is on Romo in December!

Monday December 26, 2011 11:33 chris

11:35

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Rick Gosselin:

Cynicism will get you nowhere in this chat. Romo hasn’t been at fault in this season-long struggle to win the division. He’s had a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Since the bye week, he has probably played as well as any quarterback in the league with only four interceptions in 11 games.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:35 Rick Gosselin

11:36

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[Comment From guest: ]

Where do you start on this team to stop Eagles speed? I see Philly arrow pointing up for next season.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:36 guest

11:38

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Rick Gosselin:

The Eagles will be the NFC East favorite next season. They remain the most talented team in the division and right now they are playing the best of any team in the division. I thought they’d start slow and lose some games early because of all the new and different pieces they were trying to incorporate — nine new starts, a new defensive coordinator and two new line coaches. But my idea of a slow start was 3-3, not 4-8. The Eagles you’re seeing in December are the same team you’ll see next September after having had a full offseason program.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:38 Rick Gosselin

11:38

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[Comment From AL.AL.: ]

It seems that no matter who has been coach of the Cowboys, "Coach Jerry" is always going to undermine his head coach & his efforts to lead the Boys. The Cowboys have lost significant ground on the teams in the NFC & the NFL. when will Jerry step aside & allow a proven GM & coach to the Cowboys back to the top?

Monday December 26, 2011 11:38 AL.

11:40

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Rick Gosselin:

Not any time soon. Jones has paid for the right to own the Cowboys. He believes that gives him the right to proudly proclaim himself as owner, president and general manager. He is serving in that triple capacity of a team playing for a division title on the final weekend of the season. He’ll see that as progress from last season.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:40 Rick Gosselin

11:41

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[Comment From Da ExpertDa Expert: ]

IN TJ McDonald,Mark Barron,Alfonzo Dennard& Vontaze OUT Newman,James,Brookings,Ball,Spencer!

Monday December 26, 2011 11:41 Da Expert

11:41

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Rick Gosselin:

Someone has been doing some early draft work.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:41 Rick Gosselin

11:42

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[Comment From Guest: ]

It might be hard, but we beat Washington twice and Washington beat Giants, so there is still hope we can win.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:42 Guest

11:42

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Rick Gosselin:

On the flip side, the Giants beat the Eagles and the Cowboys couldn’t.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:42 Rick Gosselin

11:43

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[Comment From JoseJose: ]

I agree that the Cowboys are trying to upgrade their offensive line, but based on what I see, the current stable of O linemen will not take them to the Super Bowl anytime soon. Is the rebuilding of the OL line on schedule?

Monday December 26, 2011 11:43 Jose

11:48

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Rick Gosselin:

It takes about three years for an offensive line to get into sync as a group. In 1990, you’d have told me that Stepnoski, Gogan, Gesek, Newton and Tuinei did not look like a collection of blockers that could deliver a Super Bowl any time soon. There wasn’t a Pro Bowler in the bunch and a couple of those guys were part of an offensive line that helped get Tom Landry fired. But in 1991 that group paced the way for an 11-win season and in 1992 they were Super Bowl champions. You need more patience in building an offensive line than any other area of your football team. Patience is not a strong suit for the Cowboy Nation, though. Give this group a bit more time — and maybe another guard taken in the early rounds of the 2011 draft — and you’ll see a quality young line emerging.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:48 Rick Gosselin

11:49

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[Comment From Guest: ]

Is Felix Jones really worth protecting? Actually… isn’t the whole thing about protecting one or two "stars" detrimental to the whole team aspect of the game. This isn’t a dominant team; don’t they need to "prove" a few things before laying down in games against division rivals?

Monday December 26, 2011 11:49 Guest

11:51

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Rick Gosselin:

I agree. The last thing this team needed last weekend was an excuse not to try. This team should be trying to develop a winning mentality. This is a franchise that has won only one playoff game since 1997. This team should be trying to win every game to foster a change in the culture at Valley Ranch. Success breeds success. Excuses breed excuses. That Giants win last weekend gave the Cowboys an excuse. Stop looking for excuses and start looking for victories.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:51 Rick Gosselin

11:51

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[Comment From bigd1bigd1: ]

I like the cowboys’ chances, we match up well against the giants, our defense will get better pressure on eli.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:51 bigd1

11:52

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Rick Gosselin:

That pressure produced zero sacks in 47 pass attempts the last time the Cowboys faced Manning. And that game was at home when the crowd noise favors the pass rush. You have more confidence in this pass rush than I do.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:52 Rick Gosselin

11:52

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[Comment From MarkMark: ]

Is there a possibility that with a poor defensive showing against the Giants, that Ryan is given the boot from Dallas? Frankly, I think there are a sizable number of coaches who can do what he’s done this year, or do better.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:52 Mark

11:55

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Rick Gosselin:

I think he’s safe regardless. Ryan did not have an offseason program to implement his defensive scheme. And it’s clear as we got into the season Ryan didn’t have the players to execute his scheme. The Cowboys need more pass rushers, more cover corners. Add a few of each this offseason and then give Ryan a full offseason to incorporate all the new pieces and any new tweaks in his scheme and then judge him.

Monday December 26, 2011 11:55 Rick Gosselin

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