Like any other offseason for the Dallas Cowboys, it's expected that the fans will have high expectations for the upcoming season. There's a standard, whether realistic or not, applied to both the players and coaches. It's understandable given the team's overall exposure and the “nothing less than a Super Bowl” nature of their followers.
But is it pointless to have those expectations when it comes to Rob Ryan?
If you read my last article, then you know there's reason to hope for next year that the defense doesn't have to shut down opponents (in regards to yards and points) for the team to make a run for a championship.
But this year is different. With no contact between players and coaches, Rob Ryan's hands are tied. He's a mechanic without a car, tasked with installing a new and complex engine without parts.
Also, his time to tinker with this defense is shortening. As each day passes without a resolution to the labor dispute, another opportunity to stack one good day of learning on top of the next is missed.
How can we expect someone to complete a project with a fast-approaching deadline when he isn't even allowed to start his work? We can't. And that's not all.
Rob Ryan is a well-respected coach around the league. Like his brother, Rex, he's considered to be among the league's top defensive minds. And that, therein, lies the rub.
If a coach is considered to be among the league's best and brightest, then it's not long before a team offers him a head coaching job. If there's one thing certain in life, beyond death and taxes, it's that there will always be at least one head coaching vacancy every year.
If you remember, Jason Garrett was the hot commodity of the 2008 offseason and was actually offered the head coaching position by both Baltimore and Atlanta. What if he had left after that season? What would've happened to the offense after only one year in JG's system?
You can argue the team's talent would allow it to be successful under numerous systems and coaches, and that's a fair point. But it's also fair to point out that a lot of the successful teams are the ones who maintain continuity.
Where's the coaching continuity if he leaves? Matt Eberflus, the current LBs coach and the man Ryan credits for much of his success, would probably go with Ryan to be his defensive coordinator.
So what happens then? The team could be left searching for another coach with another system all over again.
Of course, this is all speculative. And if you want to point out that it's pointless for me to say it's pointless to have high expectations of Rob Ryan since it's pointless to look beyond the 2011 season, then that's a fair point, too.
But with the uncertainty of football giving us so much time to think about things we normally wouldn't, it bears considering that Rob Ryan's effect on the team may not be as much as the fans hope for, nor as long.
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