Posts

New To The Silver & Blue: Rob Ryan

I have to admit when I found out  Rob Ryan was being considered for the defensive coordinator spot  I was confronted by a flash of  Buddy Ryan coaching our rivals the Eagles and thoughts of him sounding off on Jimmy Johnson and the Cowboys. Now it’s funny when we hear sound bites now and again of the argument but back then I was one mad Cowboy Fan.  However that is the past, and we are now moving on to the future.

I didn’t know anything about the Ryan family when I started researching however I learned some very interesting facts.

Rob was born December 13, 1962 in Ardmore, Oklahoma.  He is the son of former NFL head coach Buddy Ryan and his twin brother Rex is the current head coach of the New York Jets.

Rob’s parents Buddy and Doris divorced in 1966 and the boys moved to Canada with their mother. In 1974 they came back to the states to live with their father.  Rob attended high school in Linconchire, Illinois.

Rob attended college at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where our own Kelly Horn graduated, where he played defensive end opposite his brother Rex.

Rob’s resume is a long one. He began his coaching career in 1987.

Here is his coaching resume:

  • 1987 Assistant at Western Kentucky
  • 1988 Ohio State – Linebacker
  • 1989-93  Tennessee State – RB, LB and DL
  • 1994-95  Arizona Cardinals – Defensive Backs
  • 1996     Hutchinson Community College
  • 1997-1999  Oklahoma State – Defensive Coordinator
  • 2000- 03    New England Patriots – Linebacker
  • 2004 – 08   Oakland Raiders – Defensive Coordinator
  • 2009-10  Cleveland Browns – Defensive Coordinator

While that is impressive, I wanted to know how good is he at his job. He was named Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 1997 by the Sporting News for getting  Oklahoma State’s defense ranked among the best in the nation. In 2003 New England’s defense ranked 1st in the NFL in fewest points allowed, along with best scoring defense in 2001.

I was pleased to find out that his players admitted that he is a coach that demands respect but that they loved playing for him. Buddy Ryan said his son gets 100% out of each player.

Rob Ryan has an abundance of experience and unlike his father, his players respect him and he gets the best out of each player. Along with stars like DeMarcus Ware and Jay-Rat, he will also have young talent to work  with. It will be interesting to see if he can turn Mike Jenkins around and what he can turn Bryan McCann into. He has talented veterans to depend on along with the young guns to mold.

I am not a Buddy Ryan fan, but I have to admit his sons seem to have learned something  Buddy himself didn’t – Coaches must  have players respect.

I can’t wait to see what the 2011 season has to offer. With Jason Garrett at the helm and Rob Ryan pumping up the defense we will definitely improve this season. We just need to take it one game at a time.

Have We Met Somewhere Before?

It was announced yesterday that the Cincinnati Bengals signed Terrell Owens to a one year contract. With the Cowboys and the Bengals playing in this years Hall of Fame game on August 8th, it makes the game a little more interesting. The Cowboys will see Owens on the other sideline for the first time since being released after the 2008 season. Owens put up some productive numbers for the Cowboys while he was with the team from 2006 through 2008. Along with Owens, the Cowboys might just notice some other familiar faces from Cincinnati.

Antonio Bryant was drafted by the Cowboys back in 2002 in the second round. He played wide receiver for the Cowboys during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. He also played the first five games for the Cowboys in 2004.

Tank Johnson played for the Cowboys in 2007 and 2008 before being released after the 2008 season.

Adam “Pacman” Jones played for the Cowboys in 2008 and then was released after the season.

Roy Williams was drafted by the Cowboys back in 2002 in the first round. He played seven seasons for the Cowboys before being released after the 2008 season.

Mike Mickens was drafted by the Cowboys in 2009 in the seventh round. He was released before the 2009 season started.

Dennis Roland was signed by the Cowboys back in 2006 as a free agent offensive tackle and then released before the season.

Mike Zimmer was with the Cowboys from 1994-2006. During his time with the Cowboys served as an assistant coach for the nickel defense, defensive backs coach and then defensive coordinator.

It will be somewhat of a mini family reunion when both teams take the field for the Hall of Fame game. As far as playing against each other, I doubt there will be much of that in this game. The starters usually play a series or two and then take the rest of the night off.

In other news…

Injuries

With the start of training camp also come a few injuries. None of which seem very serious.

Felix Jones has been suffering from some swelling in one of his knees. He was held out of the morning practice on Tuesday, but decided he felt good enough to play in the afternoon practice. The team will of course continue to monitor Jones.

Jason Hatcher missed Tuesday’s practice with a hyper-extended elbow. He is expected to miss Wednesday’s practice as well.

Sean Lee also missed Tuesday’s practice with a strained quadriceps muscle. He is also expected to miss Wednesday’s practice.

Martellus Bennett missed his fifth day of practice with a sprained ankle. The Cowboys are unsure when he will return.

Camps first fight

The first fight of training camp broke out between Bradie James and Deon Anderson.

“That’s how you know you’re in two-a-days,” James said.” It’s official when you have that first skirmish. You get the red eye and you just want to go blast somebody. It kills the monotony of practice.”

“I got a little enthusiastic out there,” Anderson said.

The fight was short and both James and Anderson were seen laughing about it afterwards.

Kosier at center

Kyle Kosier took some snaps at center this week. The plan for the Cowboys is for Kosier to backup starting center Andre Gurode. This way the Cowboys can go into games with seven offensive linemen with Montrae Holland and Alex Barron as the backups for guard and tackle.

“It’s definitely different, especially with our defense,” Kosier said. “We’re playing the 3-4 so you’ve got a guy right over you and you’ve got to snap the ball and get the guy and he’s right in his face.”

“Once I get out there in some game situations I think it’ll be fine,” said Kosier

More on Dez

As the media continues to talk about Dez Bryant refusing to carry Roy William’s shoulder pads, it was Bryant telling them exactly what he was thinking on Tuesday.

“You’re trying to turn us against each but it’s not going to happen.”

“No, I didn’t know nothing about no tradition,” Bryant said.” The only thing that bothers me is when I try to do something right, you all (media) try to turn it negative. I don’t feel like that’s right.”

“I’m trying my best to do the right thing. But it seems like I can’t do the right thing because every little thing that I do, you all watch it and try to make a huge deal out of it.”

“It was never an issue. The media made it an issue. It was never nothing.”

“We are fine,” Bryant said.” In fact, it’s not even a situation. Me and Roy are great. Not only me and Roy, but the whole team.”

As Bryant was expressing his feelings towards the media he was signing autographs for fans. The fans then started chanting at the media…

“leave him alone”

Cowboys Extra Points: Bring on the Noise

Defensive stars Jay Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware were named to the All-Pro Team earlier this week. The Associated Press names 12 players to the NFC team. This is Ratliff’s first time to be named the honor and Ware’s fourth time. Center Andre Gurode was named to the 2nd All-Pro Team.

***

Cowboys Defensive line coach Todd Grantham has accepted a job as the defensive coordinator for the University of Georgia. The Cowboys have already found their replacement, former assistant coach Paul Pasqualoni. Pasqualoni, who was on the Dallas coaching staff from 2005-2007, was recently let go by the Miami Dolphins and was readily available. Both coaches are expected to travel to Minnesota this weekend.

***

The Cowboys injured starting running back (knee) Marion Barber practiced Thursday and was expected to practice Friday as well. Coach Phillips was encouraged by Marion’s progress and will be monitoring him close up until game time to decide whether he will be effective enough to play in Sunday’s game.

Also, Pat Watkins who has been out for a month practiced fully this week and has a good chance to return to the field this week.

***

The Cowboys practiced in Cowboys Stadium on Thursday due to the weather conditions, and I have to say it was a great idea to blast crowd noise to prepare the players for Minnesota. They overcame the noise in New Orleans and Minnesota will be just as loud, if not worse. I think the Cowboys and fans alike have learned a lot about the effect of crowd noise level this season.

***

With all the trash talk going on lately, mostly from our opponents I’d like to through this at ya, from Gerald Sensabaugh in response to Favre saying he’d be shocked if Minnesota didn’t win:

“We’d have to beat ourselves to lose. The way we’re playing right now, I don’t think we can be beat.”

Personally I liked it better when our ‘Boys were keeping their mouths shut until the job was done, but hey we’ve heard worse things coming from cocky Dallas players in the past… ha ha.

On another note: Is anyone else sick and tired of hearing about Romo facing his childhood hero?

Breaking Camp And Ready For Some Football

The Boys have left the Alamodome and are now preparing for some football in their new home. The consensus among the players is that this years camp was much tougher, and more focused than years passed, especially after last years circus.

Gone are the likes of Terrell Owens, and Adam “Pacman” Jones who always brought their own distractions wherever they went. And lets not forget about Jessica Simpson … or actually maybe we should. With her around it was clear to every fan that Romo’s head was never truly in the game. Hopefully this year he has his priorities straight, and his focus on the Lombardi Trophy. Oh yea and I almost forgot that other distraction that followed the entire team around last year, the HBO show “Hard Knocks”. It was fun to watch as a fan but if you think what it must of been like for the players being followed around all the time and every detail filmed. “It was a drama-free three weeks in San Antonio” reports KTBB.com, which is what we like to hear.

“This camp has been like two of the other camps put together. I haven’t heard anyone call this one cupcake,” linebacker Bradie James said.

Coach Wade Phillips wanted to push the team a bit more this camp, making sure they stay focused and to help them get stronger as a team.

“I am trying to do what helps this team. It’s a long season and the mental toughness is part of it,” Phillips said. “I say the mental part of it. When you get tired, that’s when the mental process comes in. I thought it was good for our guys. I think they have come through it well.

Phillips will have even more on his plate this season as he is also the teams defensive coordinator.

With camp ended the Cowboys stayed fairly healthy. They will be without Fullback Deon Anderson for some time after he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week. But both corners Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman who have been a little banged up returned to practice and are set to go. Roy Williams wrist is improving and barring any set backs he should be fine as well.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will have a three headed monster in Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice to get the ball to. The idea is that Barber with use his brute strength to soften and beat down the defense, then have Felix use his speed to fly by and around them. Choice will get a few carries a game as well to give Barber and Jones a break. Garrett is looking to get the ball to Felix 12-15 times a game and doesn’t care if its by air in the passing attack or handing it to the speedster.

With so many weapons, and as long as everyone can stay healthy, the tougher camp and the time spent together could push the Cowboys back into the elusive playoffs, then watch out!!

SS Sensabaugh A Favorite Of Campo

Since this off-season began I was predicting my home town player Gerald Sensabaugh to join my other home town player Jason Witten in Dallas my friends were saying theres no way Gerald would be a Dallas Cowboy. I debated and argued all the way until that faithful day when the Cowboys signed him. I though my arguments were over but no everywhere I looked it seemed like every Cowboys fan I talked to was doubting what Gerald could do, so I just said wait and see.

Now according to dallascowboys.com writer Mickey Spagnola Sensabaugh is one of Secondary Coach Dave Campo’s favorites. Here is what Mickey’s article said.

You might say for the majority of his years with the Cowboys, Dave Campo, first secondary coach, then defensive coordinator and then head coach before returning as secondary coach in 2008, was spoiled at the safety position. During his previous 14 seasons, he mostly had the likes of Ray Horton, James Washington, Thomas Everett, Darren Woodson, Brock Marion and George Teague back there. He even enjoyed a rather nice rookie season out of Roy Williams.

So last season probably was a little bit of a shellshock for Camps, who returned for a 15th season. Heck, even over his three years as head coach, when Woodson remained healthy, he had Woodson and Teague back there. Injuries and performance made last year somewhat of a crap shoot.

That’s why I said to him, with the addition of Gerald Sensabaugh and all the young guys brought in, this might be the best the safety position has looked since, well, Woodson was playing.

He laughed, saying it was funny I’d bring up Woodson, “because when I got to Jacksonville (2005) I remember saying Sensabaugh (a rookie then) had the kind of burst Woodson had. Now I’m not saying he’s Woodson.”

Of course not, and he’s probably 10 to 15 pounds lighter. But Campo was trying to make a point about Sensabaugh’s ability to cover, not only from the deep safety spot, but also going inside to the weak linebacker spot on the nickel, where Woodson spoiled the Cowboys his entire career with an ability to cover even receivers in the slot.

Former Cowboys Strong Safety Williams Goes To Bengals

Nfl.com has reported that the Bengals and Roy Williams have agreed on a contract. I bid you good luck Superman.

The Bengals have agreed to terms with former Cowboys free safety Roy Williams.

The Cowboys released Williams, once regarded as one of the fiercest safeties in the NFL, after last season.

In Cincinnati, Williams will be reunited with Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who coached the Cowboys’ defense when the safety had some of his best production.

Jerry Jones Finally Has No Comment

December 26, 2008

“The coaches are in place. I’ve said that. How can I be any clearer?” Jones said. “Look, I’ve said that our coaching staff, as far as I’m concerned, is in place. I just want to make the statement rather than answer questions, because your questions imply certain things that I don’t want to imply.

“I’m saying that when I look at where we are coaching staff-wise and when I look at where we are personnel-wise, I see a team that is in place to compete for several years.”

Wow. That was my initial reaction to the statement by Jerry Jones the day after Christmas.  Maybe Jerry Jones has such confidence in his staff that, regardless of the outcome against Philadelphia in the regular season finale, that he will stick his neck out and proclaim “no changes”. How many of us cringed when we saw that footage? But hey, if Jerry says it’s so we have to go along with it. After all, he’s brought 3 Lombardi Trophies to Dallas in the last 19 years. Who are we to question Mr. Jones? He obviously knows what he’s talking about. Right?

December 30, 2008

Dallas fires Special Teams coach Bruce Read. Any Cowboys fan I’ve talked to said this was the right move after Read’s disastrous season in 2008.  Now this wasn’t a shock. Let me rephrase that. It wouldn’t have been a shock had Jones’ vehement proclamation just 4 days earlier not been uttered. Surely that will be the only change. Right?

January 16, 2009

Dallas fires defensive coordinator Brian Stewart. Now this one is a tough call in my opinion. It was reported that late in the season Wade Phillips took over the reigns of the defense and, as a result, the defense began playing at a much higher level. No doubt the defense came alive late in the season. Apparently Stewart was just standing on the sidelines with his headset turned off? Maybe he was listening to Brad Sham and Babe Laufenberg calling the games each week? Sorry, I got sidetracked.

My point is if the staff is in place why was Stewart fired? Why was Read fired? Why is Jerry Jones’ favorite phrase as of late “no comment” in regards to the newly unemployed staff that is now “in place” at the employment office. The personnel  is also in place. But when asked about the future of Terrell Owens again we get a big fat “no comment”. 

In early December, after the loss to Pittsburgh, Jerry Jones questioned the toughness of Marion Barber. That was just stupid. Period.

What really happened this season is Jerry Jones continually put his foot in his mouth. He made comments that bit him on the ass so now he’s making no comment at all. It is a fresh approach I’ll give him that much. The guy hasn’t been this quiet since he bought the team back in 1989. I find it very refreshing. My dream is that someday soon  Mr. Jones will wake up one morning and realize his team needs a new GM. But until then, at least as far as JJ is concerned, no news is definitely good news.

Jim Schwartz Excited About Turning Detroit Around

I was on the NFL website this morning and I saw where they hired Jim Schwartz the defensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans and where he he claimed he is excited about the opportunity to turn around the Detroit football team.

 Bring it on, says Detroit’s new head coach.

 “There’s no better feeling in football than turning a situation around. Thats what drives me here,” the 42-year-old former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator said during his introductory news conference this Friday at Ford Field.

 The Lions badly want the one-time Georgetown University economics major to come up with a formula to fix a franchise coming off the NFL’s first 0-16 season, an eight-season stretch that has been the worst in the league since World War II and a run of more than 50 years with only one playoff win.

 “I can’t speak of the past, I’m here right now,” Schwartz said. “I’m not here to exorcise any ghosts.”

 While Detroit’s football future is far from certain, Schwartz told reporters they can count on at least one thing.

 “We’ll put a team on the field that you’ll be proud of,” he said one day after agreeing to a four-year contract worth about $11 million.

 The son of a police officer and a deceased mother who raised nine kids, Schwartz said he was a blue-collar guy who will fit in well with the culture of Detroit.

 “This is what I am,” Schwartz said.

 Schwartz said he owns only two suits that fit, finding out recently that a third is too small because of the weight he gained during the season.

 “He’s a football guy — I love that,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said.

 Schwartz’s coming-out party was the culmination of years of hard work. He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Maryland in 1989, later had the same position at Minnesota and went on to become a secondary coach for North Carolina Central and linebackers coach at Colgate.

 The Baltimore native became a head-coaching candidate in recent years because of his work in Tennessee, leading to interviews with the Miami Dolphins,Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and San Fransisco 49ers in recent years.

 But Schwartz got his start as an unpaid intern for Bill Belichiek with the Cleveland Browns, later was paid as a scout and moved on to be an assistant for the Ravens, then became one of the league’s best defensive coordinators in Tennessee.

 Schwartz singled out Belichick, who’s now leading the New England Patriots, and Titans coach Jeff Fisher as mentors.

 Schwartz replaces Rod Marinelli, who was fired two weeks ago after he went 10-38 in three seasons, dropping Detroit to 31-97 since 2001 when former team president Matt Millen took over a mediocre franchise and turned it into a laughingstock.

 The Chicago Cardinals, who won just 23 percent of their games from 1936 to 1943, are the last team to perform as poorly as the Lions have over an eight-season stretch.

 Detroit will count on Schwartz to use his background to come up with ways to improve a defense that ranked last in the league and gave up 517 points — threatening the NFL record for points allowed (533) in a season, set by the 1981 Baltimore Colts.

 Schwartz’s 2003 Titans defense ranked first in the NFL in rushing defense and led the league in third-down defense at 27.7 percent — the lowest mark since the 1998 Oakland Raiders. The Titans ranked in the top seven in yards allowed in each of the past two seasons and finished second in points allowed per game at 14.6 in 2008.

 Schwartz said he has coordinators he’d like to have in Detroit, but neither is in place. He also planned to talk to the remaining assistants from Marinelli’s staff.

 “I’ll talk to a lot of people next week at the Senior Bowl,” he said.

 Schwartz also planned to call Detroit’s entire roster.

 “I want to make personal contact with every player,” he said. “Finding my way from the hotel to the facility will be a good start, also.”

Personally I am glad to see Detroit get as good of a defensive coach as Schwartz is. I hope for Detroit’s sake that will win at least 3 games next season or who knows maybe Schwartz will do for Detroit what Parcells and Sparano did in Miami. Only time will tell though.

Coordinators Making Moves, Cowboys Make Changes

This afternoon the Cowboys fired Defensive Coordinator Brian Stewart. No further details were reported or any replacement named.

It is also being reported that Jason Garret is traveling back to St. Louis this afternoon. It is being reported that he has been offered the head coaching job of the Rams. According to the Ticket in Dallas, he will accept the job.

To lose both coordinators in one day is highly unusual, and add that to the firing of the special teams coordinator, it will be a fresh start for the coaching staff next year. 

Campo Most Likely Headed Back to Dallas

As the Super Bowl approaches the rumors are flying around Valley Ranch, but nothing will be announced until after Sunday’s NFL finale. Amongst the trade rumors and draft suggestions, there is really only one rumor that is likely to become reality, the return on Dave Campo.

Former head coach Dave Campo visited Valley Ranch yesterday. He could become the next secondary coach, replacing Todd Bowles who departed for Miami. Campo has been coaching in Jacksonville for the last three years.

To refresh your memories, Dave Campo started out with the Cowboys in 1989 when Jerry Jones took over the team. Campo took on many positions over the years such as defensive assistant, secondary coach and defensive coordinator. As defensive coordinator from 95-99, his defense finished within the top 10 overall in the NFL in four of those five years.

He was promoted head coach after Chan Gailey was fired in 2000. As head coach Campo went 15-33. Yes that’s right, three straight seasons ending at 5-11. Those were tough times for the Cowboys when salary caps and injuries really damaged the team. At the end of 2002 Campo was released and Bill Parcells took over.

Dave Campo is ready to return to Dallas and most likely it’s going to happen. We just have to wait a few more days for the announcement.

**UPDATE** Albert Breer of The Dallas Morning News reports that the Cowboys have hired Dave Campo to be their new secondary coach.

Cowboys Coaching Staff

2006 Departures:
Head Coach – Bill Parcells (retired)
Passing Game Coordinator/WR – Todd Haley (went to Arizona)
Running Backs – Anthony Lynn (went to Cleveland)
Tight Ends – Freddie Kitchens (went to Arizona)
Quarterbacks – Chris Palmer (went to NY Giants)
Off. Quality Control – David Lee (went to Univ. of Arkansas)
Defensive Coordinator – Mike Zimmer (went to Atlanta)
Safeties – Mike MacIntyre (went to NY Jets)
Special Teams – Bruce DeHaven (went to Seattle)

Still Around:
Running Game Coordinator/OL – Tony Sparano
Linebackers – Paul Pasqualoni
Inside Linebackers – Vincent Brown
Defensive Line – Kacy Rodgers
Secondary – Todd Bowles

New Arrivals:
Head Coach – Wade Phillips
Offense – Jason Garrett (role yet to be determined)

Source: dallascowboys.com

Back in Dallas

 

 

 

Jason Garrett… name sounds familiar. Oh yeah, he was Troy Aikman’s back up QB in the 90s. Those were some great years! Even though Garrett didn’t get to play very often, he was still there taking it all in. And now after a day long meeting at the Ranch with Jerry and Stephen Jones and Bill Parcells, Garrett has been offered the job as Offensive Coordinator. Not only that but he is now one of the top candidates for the Head Coach Opening. What? This guy wasn’t even on anyone’s list as a probable contender. Well, since when does that matter?

Wade Phillips seems to be a very likely possibility. The Dallas Cowboys requested and were granted permission from the Chargers to talk to Phillips. During an interview the native Texan told reporters:

"I’m really happy where I am. I can’t say enough about the (Chargers’) organization and the players and the fans. But I have family and a home there. Us Texans, even though we haven’t been there in 20 years, it’s always home and the Cowboys are our home team."

That sounds pretty promising to me. Considering the way the 06 Chargers season went, I think I’d be happy with that. Phillips has been head coach of 4 NFL teams: Saints, Falcons, Bills and Broncos. He has the experience and has been very successful most recently as the defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers who were 14-2 this past season.

I believe Phillips and Garrett would make an awesome pair. However there are still other names and possibilities that have been tossed around and no decision has been confirmed yet. So back to the waiting game. I feel confident whatever the decision, that 2007 will be a very successful year for the Dallas Cowboys. A new leader… a new year… a new outlook.