Why 2011 NFL Season Is Exposing Dallas Cowboys' Rob Ryan as a Fraud

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIDecember 12, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan during the Thanksgiving Day game at Cowboys Stadium on November 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan came to the team with much fanfare this offseason. Ryan was supposed to dramatically improve a Cowboys team that ranked 23rd in the NFL in total defense in 2010. Well, that hasn't exactly happened.

Ryan's defense has been exposed time and again so far this season, and last night's 37-34 loss to the New York Giants was no exception. The Cowboys gave up 510 yards to the Giants, including 400 through the air. 

The Cowboys currently rank 16th in the NFL in total defense, surrendering 344.5 yards per game, and are also 16th in points allowed per game (21.6). Clearly Ryan's influence hasn't been the sea-change that was expected.

While Ryan had a good run as defensive coordinator for the Raiders from 2004-08, his defense with the Browns in 2010 struggled and finished the season ranked 22nd in the league. Still, he was hired by the Cowboys to turn things around defensively in Big D. 

While all of Dallas' defensive problems can't be blamed on Ryan, his unit is clearly struggling and his play-calling hasn't exactly been stellar. The secondary looks lost at times and allowed Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks to combine for 14 catches last night.

Meanwhile a broken down Brandon Jacobs rushed for 101 yards, and the unit failed to make any impact plays down the stretch of what was a huge inter-divisional matchup on Sunday night. 

Dallas led 34-22 with less than four minutes to go, and the defense simply handed a win to the Giants. That's completely unacceptable and Ryan has to take a huge chunk of the blame for his defense's failings.

He came in with a ton of bluster and bravado and has yet to even come close to living up to the hype.