Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan blames himself for some of the struggles of the Dallas defense last season, saying that when he got to work after the lockout, he threw the whole defense at his team at once, instead of giving his players the time to slowly pick up the playbook.
Ryan, who was hired by the Cowboys last year, told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com that if he had it to do all over again, he’d just introduce basic concepts at first and expand as the season went on.
“When we look back at ourselves, reevaluate, I think I started too fast,” Ryan said. “I put in the accelerated program without English 101, which I always struggled with. You have to have a foundation. . . . It’s like getting a tutor. My kid gets a tutor, he gets 90s in math. He doesn’t? Forties. We need 90s or 100s.”
The Cowboys’ defense got better with the arrival of Ryan last season, and he’s confident that the defense will continue to improve with an offseason of installing the defense the way he wants.
“It just takes time to re-teach everything, get the fundamentals,” Ryan said. “We’re going to teach at a slower pace so we can actually learn. We tried to slow it down [in 2011], and it was a little tough for us. I got to look in the mirror, and that’s on me. I’m a better teacher than that. We come back to square one, and it’s gonna be great.”