The subject of play calling on both sides of the ball came up during Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s year-end press conference on Monday.
Garrett shot down the notion that he would bring in someone else to handle the offensive play calls that have remained Garrett’s responsibility since he was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach. He was less forthcoming about who would be handling things on the defensive side of the ball.
Garrett did not say whether or not Rob Ryan would return for a third year as the team’s defensive coordinator. Ryan’s defense ranked in the bottom half of the league in both points and yards allowed, a performance that was impacted by the loss of several key players to injury over the course of the season. Garrett complimented Ryan’s handling of “the challenges” he faced this season.
“If you think about the number of guys we lost on defense — starting, marquee players who are just simply out — and the other guys who are battling through injuries and the challenges he had bringing guys from the practice squad up, from off the street and on our team and literally playing them two days later, that happened a number of different times, and I thought he did a really good job managing that situation,” Garrett said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We had to make adjustments in our schemes to try to fit to what these guys are capable of doing, and it was challenging. There’s no question about it. But he never blinked.”
While there is a fine line between doing “a really good job managing that situation” and doing a really good job overall, it doesn’t sound like the Cowboys are convinced they need to change coaches to find the defensive improvement they’ll need in 2013. If they remain unconvinced, Ryan will have a chance to prove injuries were the defense’s biggest problem this year.