When the Cowboys shockingly let Rob Ryan go, and relieved him of his duties as defensive coordinator, Ryan brazenly promised that he would be out of work for all of 5 minutes. Well it took a little longer then 5 minutes but he has found a home.
That home is with the defensive minded St. Louis Rams. Their coaching staff is littered with former defensive coordinators. Head coach Jeff Fisher was a defensive coordinator but has presumably decided that he wants to not pull double duty like some head coaches do. But he isn’t the only former defensive coordinator on this staff. Linebackers coach Frank Bush is a former defensive coordinator, Chuck Cecil is also a former defensive coordinator, under Jeff Fisher.
According to ESPN, the Cowboys’ defense was 19th overall, 17th against the run and 21st against the pass while under Ryan’s control. The Rams’s defense was only slightly better ranking 15th against both the run and the pass.
But can Ryan take the Rams’s defense to the next level. One of the detractions about Ryan is that his defense is too complex, and runs too many schemes which consequently lacks identity. Instead of focusing on doing one thing well, like rushing the passer, he tries to do to much.
While his resume includes other defensive coordinator stints with the Oakland Raiders and the Cleveland Browns, and his legacy being the offspring of defensive guru, and father, Buddy Ryan, some question whether he can lead an elite defense. In all that time he has only once lead a defense into the top 10.
Some in Dallas say Ryan wasn’t given a fair shot this season as the team was plagued with injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball. But Jerry Jones maintained his decision was made based on the Seattle and Chicago games, both of which came in the first half of the season, and both were losses.
It’s worth noting that Tony Romo threw 5 interceptions against Chicago.
The other hurdle for Ryan, he’s been coaching a 3-4 scheme and the Rams are built for a 4-3 with their current personnel.
But with Jeff Fisher’s defenesive knowledge and experience as a head coach, he could possibly rein in Ryan and his defense.