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Rob Ryan: Cowboys’ D will be great if we solve red zone problems

Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings Getty Images

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan says there’s just one area of the field where he needs his players to perform better for his defense to achieve greatness.

“We’re not playing good defense and it’s only because of the red zone. If we get that cleaned up, we’ll have a great defense,” Ryan told the Dallas Morning News. “It’s been disappointing. It takes everybody’s focus and for us to be where we want to be, where everybody wants us to be, we have to play better there.”

Of course, struggling in the red zone isn’t just a little quirk of an otherwise great defense, and solving problems in the red zone isn’t just some minor tweak. If you’re not good at keeping your opponents out of the end zone once they get inside the 20-yard line, you’re not a good defense.

And it’s also not quite true to suggest that the Cowboys’ only problem is in the red zone: In Sunday’s win over the Redskins, Washington marched down the field on a 12-play, 89-yard drive late in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime, and then had a 10-play, 48-yard drive in overtime to set up an attempt at a game-winning field goal. The Redskins’ overtime field goal attempt missed, and the Cowboys then won the game with a field goal of their own, but Ryan’s defense can hardly take credit for that.

So while he’s admitting the red zone is an area where he needs his defense to get better, Ryan may be overstating the overall quality of his defense. Not exactly breaking news, I know.

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43 Responses to “Rob Ryan: Cowboys’ D will be great if we solve red zone problems”
  1. AlanSaysYo says: Nov 23, 2011 3:42 PM

    Guys, if we stop letting the other team score, we can totally be a great defense. Ideas?

  2. rr2000k says: Nov 23, 2011 3:42 PM

    Another Ryan who can’t keep their pie hole shut. Geesh. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts…..

  3. arsement says: Nov 23, 2011 3:45 PM

    If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.

  4. checkforecheck says: Nov 23, 2011 3:47 PM

    So Rob, your defense would be great if you stopped the opposing team from scoring, is what you’re saying.

    Good thinking, I think we’re all inclined to agree. Might as well cross Lombardi’s name off the trophy, there’s a new genius in the house.

  5. sbxxix says: Nov 23, 2011 3:47 PM

    I hope that’s true because I picked Miami at +7 this week

  6. thekingdave says: Nov 23, 2011 3:48 PM

    And if I had not missed those 3 questions on the test, I would have received a 100.

  7. earthtopft says: Nov 23, 2011 3:48 PM

    Once Rex sorts that problem out, he will work on the next failing of the defense, letting teams get into the red zone so easily

  8. cowhawkfan says: Nov 23, 2011 3:49 PM

    One way to improve your Red Zone defense is too not let the opponent in the Red Zone, especially allowing them to drive down the field in the last few minutes of the game!!

  9. kingviking414 says: Nov 23, 2011 3:50 PM

    Yeah and I’d be a millionaire if I had a million dollars.

  10. wagon151515 says: Nov 23, 2011 3:52 PM

    Still missing their best cornerback on the team due to injury. Wish everyone would get off this look at how well the pathetic Redskins did crap. Anybody that is a die hard fan of either of these teams knows that 90% of the games within this rivalry come down to the last minute. I don’t care how good or bad either team is, that game is always a dog fight. And at the end of the game if you were able to find a way to win, however it might be, your thrilled and just happy to move on from it.

  11. mjbulls45 says: Nov 23, 2011 3:52 PM

    if a franchise needs a spark

    hire Rob Ryan

    he’s one of those who will come in right away and become relevant, win, actually making a team worth following.

    half the teams in the NFL are irrelevant after week 8.

  12. burm61 says: Nov 23, 2011 3:53 PM

    Someone please tell Mr. Ryan that he is not a good defensive coordinator. Look at how much the Browns improved after he left.

  13. freewayjim says: Nov 23, 2011 3:53 PM

    Two Ryan Brothers stories in a row? wow, who’d have ever thought that?

  14. snarkzilla says: Nov 23, 2011 3:53 PM

    Oh, boy. Back to back Ryanisms.

  15. snowpea84 says: Nov 23, 2011 3:53 PM

    We’d have a great defense if we could stop teams from scoring when they got close enough to score.

  16. burnzy32 says: Nov 23, 2011 3:54 PM

    All of the headlines are about the idiot Ryan brothers, their mom shoulda swallowed

  17. schmokes says: Nov 23, 2011 3:55 PM

    Rob Ryan: Cowboys D would be great if all the players had beautiful hair like me.

  18. 4evrnyt says: Nov 23, 2011 3:55 PM

    Well that’s about the same as saying: Our defense will be great once we stop the other teams from scoring.

  19. thetroofishere says: Nov 23, 2011 3:58 PM

    If Orlando Scandrick makes the open field tackle on that running back instead of diving at his feet and whiffing, this article wouldn’t even exist.

  20. evomike06 says: Nov 23, 2011 4:04 PM

    Dallas D has more problems then just in the redzone. I know the skins and cowboys always play each other tough but the redskins couldn’t do anything on offense for weeks, and they let them march down the field easily on that last drive. Cant say to much about the others cuz the skins had a very short field, but the final drive of regulation is when an elite defense steps up. or on short filds just gives up fgs and not TDs to the worst offense in the league.

  21. wagon151515 says: Nov 23, 2011 4:05 PM

    This is a top 10 defense statistically

  22. 808raiderinparadise says: Nov 23, 2011 4:12 PM

    OR……. DONT LET EM GET THE RED-ZONE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

  23. emoney12 says: Nov 23, 2011 4:12 PM

    And the Ryan slobs would be thin if they turned second and third helpings.

  24. sonvar says: Nov 23, 2011 4:13 PM

    He needs to shut up. His defenses have been mediocre at best. If he ever wanted to be a head coach he is not doing himself any favors by constantly yaking. We hear more from him than the actual Cowboys coach or Jerry which is astounding

  25. whatwouldlombardido says: Nov 23, 2011 4:14 PM

    I could have been a doctor, except for all that science stuff.

  26. zaggs says: Nov 23, 2011 4:16 PM

    So basically the D’s only problem is keeping other teams from scoring. oh well, gladd to see its something minor.

  27. txtroutslayer says: Nov 23, 2011 4:20 PM

    I think the Defense has been pretty solid, however, I’m afraid that Shannahan’s staff found a weakness. It seemed to me that they found the middle of the defense is weak against the pass. It was like every time they threw the ball in the middle the skins gained yards. Now that it is on film I’m afaid other teams will see this and follow suit. We’ll see….

  28. howley1 says: Nov 23, 2011 4:30 PM

    I wouldn’t say they marched down the field that easily on that last drive. I mean if they were moving the ball THAT easily they wouldn’t have had to settle for a 52 yard FG attempt by their <70% kicker. Their last set of downs were a run for -2, pass for 5, sack for -1.

  29. bobhk says: Nov 23, 2011 4:44 PM

    Why does this guy have to speak every week?

  30. doughboy810 says: Nov 23, 2011 4:47 PM

    Man I wish Poseidon would just shut up already. The Ryan brothers are all steak and no sizzle. I hate how much they cut to him on the tv coverage. Ol facelift needs to bring in Jeff Fisher if he wants some results.

  31. committed2excellence says: Nov 23, 2011 5:02 PM

    Yes Rex, giving up less points WILL mean your defense is better.

    Is it really necessary to turn every word of “coach speak” into a headline on slow news days?

    Instead of wasting your time and ours on these worthless stories how about saving up your time and using it by writing some intriguing pieces on HOW things aren’t what they seem, or WHY things are unfolding as are, and you know….telling us something we don’t already know.

    Just an idea.

  32. marcuswelby70 says: Nov 23, 2011 5:20 PM

    Uhhh…couldn’t every team in the NFL say the same thing…IDIOT!

  33. lelabear47 says: Nov 23, 2011 5:22 PM

    average talent on defense, few good players

  34. gpack22 says: Nov 23, 2011 5:36 PM

    I will enjoy watching neither of these Ryan clowns win a SB. Yeah, I know Rex was DL coach for the Ravens, but it was Marvin Lewis’ defense. Their mouths like to write checks the large a@@’s can cash.

  35. svrnblk says: Nov 23, 2011 5:43 PM

    Same problem when he was in Oakland and Clevelend. Can’t be Robs fault!

  36. snarkzilla says: Nov 23, 2011 6:00 PM

    He’ll be okay. He can get a turkey and stuffing down before the game and then go get another one and more stuffing and a pie after.

  37. txraiderfan says: Nov 23, 2011 7:06 PM

    He sucked in Oakland and guess what… he still sucks! If my last name was Montana, I wouldn’t automatically be a great quarterback.

  38. dirtdawg55 says: Nov 23, 2011 7:10 PM

    Immediately after that article was published Jim Caldwell marched down to Chris Polian’s office and said “See this! See this? Isn’t this exactly what I have been telling you. If we can only stop the opposing team from getting to the Red Zone and then into the End Zpne, well golly gee I think we have ourselves ne heck of a defense. We would still be 0 and 10 though because our offense can’t get to the Red Zone often enough and the few times it does it can’t get to the End Zone.”

  39. dd393 says: Nov 23, 2011 8:11 PM

    Another Ryan brother story? Can we have Brett Favre back? Please?

  40. Soulman45 says: Nov 23, 2011 9:31 PM

    I hope the Cowgirls have a Happy Thanksgiving is they lose to the Fish by 7 easy.

  41. toolkien says: Nov 23, 2011 10:57 PM

    Looks like Rob put his foot in his mouth on that one – oh wait, that would be Rex….

  42. megatronownsyou says: Nov 24, 2011 12:46 AM

    He will eat even more than usual tomorrow

  43. weneedlinemen42 says: Nov 24, 2011 5:32 AM

    I am a great defensive coach. If only I could work out how to stop the opposition scoring so many points.

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