Rob Ryan to Be Named Cowboys Defensive Coordinator
That's because Garrett has, according to multiple sources, hired the brother of Jets coach Rex Ryan, to run his defense. Rob Ryan was the third candidate who employs the 3-4 scheme to interview with Garrett last week. The first two, Vic Fangio and Greg Manusky, took coordinator positions with the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers, respectively. Ryan, Cleveland's coordinator the last two seasons, was apparently out of a job after the Browns hired coach Pat Shurmur last week.
Rob Ryan is neither as famous nor quite as outrageous as his loud-mouthed twin brother, but with his flowing gray hair and aggressive style is a serious contrast to the reserved Garrett, with his closely cropped red hair. It could also be the difference between their respective alma maters -- Oklahoma State and Princeton -- or between their backgrounds on defense vs. offense.
Although the 48-year-old Ryan and the 44-year-old Garrett have never worked together, their lives have always revolved around football as sons of coaches. Ryan's father Buddy coached in the NFL from 1968-95 except for a two-year break in 1992-93. Garrett's father Jim coached in the NFL from 1970-84 and then was a scout for the Cowboys from 1987-2004. The elder Garrett's teams got the better of the elder Ryan's teams in two of their three matchups.
The younger Ryan didn't play in the NFL and when he got his start as an assistant under his father in 1994-95 in Arizona, the Cardinals lost all four meetings to the powerful Cowboys, whose backup quarterback was Garrett. Their paths crossed again when Garrett was finishing his career as a backup with the Giants in 2003 and Miami in 2004 as those teams fell to Ryan's New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders, respectively. As assistants, they met in 2005 and 2009 with Garrett prevailing both times, the first as the Dolphins' quarterbacks coach, the second as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator.
Ryan was the Raiders' defensive coordinator from 2004-08 before moving on the Browns in 2009. He replaces Paul Pasqualoni, who was promoted at midseason when coach/defensive coordinator Wade Phillips (also the son of a former NFL coach) was fired with Dallas off to a shocking 1-7 start.
The Cowboys played a little better on defense under Pasqualoni -- who was named Connecticut's coach last week -- but still set franchise records for points, yards, touchdowns and passing yards allowed while plummeting from second in scoring defense and ninth overall during their NFC East championship season of 2009 to 31st and 23rd in finishing 6-10 in 2010. The plunge occurred even though 10 of the 11 starters remained the same for virtually the entire season both years.
Only left end Marcus Spears (who spent the second half of 2010 on injure reserve), strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh and new free safety Alan Ball aren't under contract for 2011.
Next season's game at the Jets will make two straight years in which the Ryan twins have battled. The powerful Jets beat the lowly Browns 26-20 in Cleveland in Week 10 this season. Rex, then Baltimore's defensive coordinator, also defeated Rob in 2006 and 2008 when the Ravens bested the Raiders.