He’s talked the talk all year. Now, like the rest of his family, he’s backed himself into a corner trying to walk the walk. Rob Ryan’s defense has been exposed. Torched by Eli Manning and the New York Giants last week with the NFC East lead on the line, Ryan tries to rally his troops tonight against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the season on the line. He still believes in his defense, and is still talking tough and acting like he’s coaching his dad’s 1985 Chicago Bear defense. He hasn’t backed down from his earlier statements about having the best defensive talent in the league.
"I've got better players than everybody else," Ryan said, "and that's just a fact."
As President Ronald Reagan once said, 'facts are stupid things.' Indeed. The Cowboys are currently ranked 16thin total defense this year and outside of DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee and perhaps Jay Ratliff, there are no stars shining bright in the Cowboys defensive galaxy. They give up too many big plays and have yet to prove they can make a big stop in crunch time. Five of their six losses have come from blowing fourth quarter leads. It has to end tonight, or else.
"We've just got to play better," Orlando Scandrick said. "We tried a simple scheme last year and it didn't work."
No, it didn’t work last year under head coach and defensive “guru” Wade Philips. The Cowboys gave up the most points in their history. Ryan has definitely improved on that, but this defense still doesn’t strike fear into opposing team’s offenses. The Giants had a 100-yard receiver and a 100-yard rusher to go with Eli Manning’s 400 yards in the air. Tonight, they face struggling Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman. A big time showing by the defense is badly needed to restore confidence, something that is never lacking in the Boys defensive coordinator.
"If there is a defensive problem, it's right here," Ryan said. "It's not on anybody else. It's just me and I'm going to fix it. Hell, our players are going to fix it. More importantly, they are the guys on the field who are going to kick some tail."
The tail kicking better start at kickoff and continue for 60 minutes, because 55 minutes didn't get it done last week.
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