According to a report from ESPN Dallas, the Dallas Cowboys have fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Brian Costello of the New York Post also said on Twitter that he had heard that the firing took place.
"I want to express my appreciation to Rob for all of his efforts and contributions to the Cowboys over the past two years," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said in a statement. "At this time, the decision has been made to move forward in a different direction philosophically on defense. I have an immense amount of respect for Rob as a person and as a football coach and I wish him and his family the very best."
Ryan just completed his second year of a three-year contract as the man in charge of a Cowboys defense that disappointed on most levels. Dallas finished 23rd in Football Outsiders' team defense metrics in 2012 -- 25th against the pass and 19th against the run.
"I inherited a team that was 31st in the league in defense and made them better," Ryan told ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon from his vacation spot in the Turks and Caicos Islands. "I [expletive] made them a hell of a lot better. I'll be out of work for like five minutes. I think I did a good job and I think our staff did a good job on defense trying to compete with what we had at the end of the year. But the best job we did was when we were able to coach our starters."
A host of injuries did not help his chances for success. Linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter, along with linemen Jay Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware, either missed significant time or were hampered by injuries throughout the season.
Ryan is the former defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders, as well as the twin brother of New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. And with Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine moving on to greener pastures (as confirmed by Rex in Tuesday morning's press conference), there will certainly speculation that the Ryan brothers, who have not worked on the same staff since they coached under father Buddy Ryan for the 1994 and 1995 Arizona Cardinals, might work together again.
It's expected that current defensive backs coach Dennis Thurmond will be the Jets' next defensive coordinator, but this news could alter plans for a Jets team that is always looking to add new tents to its little circus.
After a .500 season in 2012 -- the third straight season in which his team missed the playoffs -- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that there would be big changes.
"I can tell you change is necessary at 8-8," Jones told Dallas radio station KRLD-FM last week. "Change is in order when you spend the two seasons in a row down to the last two games and lose them, so we're going to have to have changes.
"I can assure our fans this, that it's going to be very uncomfortable from my standpoint, it's going to be very uncomfortable for the next few weeks and months at Valley Ranch."
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