It is hard for an old-timer (and hard to believe a fan of the early '90s Cowboys actually qualifies as such, but I guess so) to get his mind around celebrating the presence of a member of Buddy Ryan's family on the Dallas Cowboys' coaching staff.
Hard. But not impossible.
Thanks to the influence of Rob Ryan, Jerry Jones and company set out to nab Abram Elam in the 2011 NFL free agency gold rush. Abram was one of four top-level safeties on the 2011 NFL free agent market. The other three were Michael Huff, Eric Weddle and Dawan Landry.
Huff and Weddle are more athletic, free safety types. It had been my hope that Jones would make a run at bringing Huff, the University of Texas product, "home" to Dallas. If not Huff, I wanted Weddle.
If not Huff or Weddle, somebody...anybody!
Turns out Jones and Ryan got their man, the one they wanted, the one whose skills and football savvy Rob Ryan knows better than anyone, the one that has already proven he can achieve— excel even— in the Ryan Helter Skelter, Kamikaze defensive scheme.
Last season, Elam recorded 79 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, 10 passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Solid numbers. Not splashy or sexy. But solid.
More importantly, Elam brings experience and familiarity with the Ryan philosophy of defense. He is touted as an intelligent player that should be able to help his new teammates with the learning curve.
Together, Elam and Gerald Sensabaugh should comprise a solid last line of defense. Not spectacular. Just solid. If you have watched many Cowboys games over the past few seasons, you know that, where the safety position is concerned, solid is good. Solid is an upgrade.
So, it says here that Jerry Jones did the Cowboys fans a solid by signing Abram Elam. Mingle a solid signing at a position of dire need with an effective scheme, and the Cowboys defense could go from good to great in 2012.
Old Cowboys fans have to love that, even if the credit will go directly to the progeny of the arrogant little irritant, Buddy Ryan. Besides, in the world of NFL football, the only thing needed to change one's loyalty is a change of laundry.
Rob Ryan and Abram Elam together again, this time in silver and blue laundry, ought to bring a little more lustre to that star in 2012.