Jerry Jones: Rob Ryan’s defense is “too much scheme”


Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says Rob Ryan, who was fired as defensive coordinator last month, ran a defense that was too complicated.

Jones said at the Scouting Combine that the decision to fire Ryan and hire Monte Kiffin was made in large part because Dallas needs a simpler defense with a slimmer playbook.

Where we fundamentally came down with Rob is that his philosophy is about multiple scheme,” Jones said, via the Star-Telegram. “I think you have to skinny it down. Philosophically, I don’t think Rob believes in that.”

Jones said he expressed his concerns to Ryan a year ago, and that Ryan did try to simplify his defense — just not enough to satisfy Jones.

“I think Rob will tell you we had long visits about this in the off-season last year that there was too much scheme. He tried to cut it back and he did skinny it back, but it’s still a lot,” Jones said. “We just didn’t feel like at the end of the day Rob could skinny it back enough to our satisfaction that we could make plays.”

So Kiffin will come in and run a defense that’s simpler. And maybe better.

97 responses to “Jerry Jones: Rob Ryan’s defense is “too much scheme”

  1. This is from the legion of loyal Cowboy fans to Jerry Jones, “SHUT THE EFF UP!”

  2. Hmmmm. So you hire the guy, and don’t understand that’s the way he coaches! Isn’t the “gm” supposed to know the type of coach he’s hiring?? Jerry Jones is so lost its both sad and comical!

  3. Dumb GM drafting dumb players? This guy is a good DC.
    The QB’s aren’t getting any dumber, so Kiffin’s simpler defense will be recognized easier and lead to more points being scored against them.

  4. Is the defense too complicated for the convicts, dolts and busts that no character Jerry selects as the general manager?

    Jerry = money
    Talent= the assumption is the only benchmark to play in the NFL
    Stupid= mistakes, distractions and megalamania

    Jerry +Talent+Stupid= a blowhard freakshow with no playoff wins

  5. Dang, Not often I would ever agree with the “mouth from the south”, but I do on this one.
    Keep It Simple Stupid! It’s not rocket science. It’s about hitting hustling, and being pyhsical. Fancy schemes seem to be more about the ego of the coach rather than the abilities of the players. And that fits right in with Ryan from what I have seen.

  6. I’m no Rob Ryan fan by a long shot, but Jerry Jones telling coaches how to coach and scheme is a prime example why Cowboys haven’t done anything since Jimmy Johnson coached a slew of HOF’ers. Jerry should focus on how to get the number of tickets he sells to match the number of seats in his temple to himself.

  7. Mr. Jones,

    So basically you threw another person under the bus instad of recognizing your own failures. I hope this doesn’t sound too complicated to you, but there is only one constant in all the bad years; and that constant is YOU.

    Everybody on the planet

  8. I seem to remember Sean Payton being demoted by the NY Giants as OC because it had too many complicated schemes. They seemed to work enough in Dallas and then NO for him.

  9. Headline from 2016:

    Jerry Jones: Failed defense too simple, need multiple looks to succeed in NFL

  10. God, I can’t stand being a Cowboys fan sometimes. I was here long before he bought his way into the team but it just gets harder and harder.

    *Fan boys need not apply with the Joe Swanson love it or leave it tirade.

  11. edgarpoe3 says: Feb 26, 2013 7:15 AM

    Mr. Jones,

    So basically you threw another person under the bus instead of recognizing your own failures. I hope this doesn’t sound too complicated to you, but there is only one constant in all the bad years; and that constant is YOU.

    Everybody on the planet

    What he said –^

  12. The guy down in Dallas is an egomanic, blow hard….but at least he built a champion……oh wait, er…that’s the guy who owns the NBA team in Dallas… that must be killing Jerry.

    Maybe Cuban will let him take notes or hold a class or two for him?

  13. Another difference is that Kiffin’s scheme requires corners who can play zone and make tackles. Dallas just spent a bunch of money on corners to do neither. How’s that going to work out?

  14. This guy is truly unbelievable Jerry you just don’t know football Period! However I love you as a owner coach gm and every other title you claim. Eagles Giants and Redskins fans love you keep up the good work

  15. Another sad example of Jerry wanting to coach the team himself. Hey Jerrah, back the heck off and let the coaches do their jobs! There is no reason for an owner to be sitting in on coaches meetings discussing strategy the way Jerry says he was with Rob Ryan during the offseason. For God’s sake Jerry, if you want to coach the team yourself just do it already, stop torturing the people you hire with your micromanaging. The Cowboys will never win until Jerry backs off and lets football people do their jobs without his input.

    And by the way, more complex schemes is the way the whole league is evolving, and the college game too. That’s why Kiffin’s defenses at USC got shredded the way they did. The old man couldn’t keep up. But Jerry thinks going back in time while the rest of the league moves forward is the way to go. This reminds me so much of the Dave Campo era

  16. I thought Ryan ran to many schemes as well. No one on the field knew where to be.. It’s a 5 year D and coaches don’t have that amount of time. For all you saying Monte Kiffins D is too easy tell that to the teams playing the Bears, Seahawks and 49ers last season.. All at off the Tampa 2 and the bears straight up ran the Tampa 2.

  17. I’m not sure it was too much scheme but it was definitely too gimmicky. Too many late shifts. Too many odd formations. I don’t recall any successful defenses doing as many of these things as RR tried and definitely not the teams that ended up in the playoffs. Sometimes you just have to line up and man up and they didn’t do this. Bash JJ all you want (he deserves it for ruining this team) but the defense played better as the injuries mounted and RR cut the playbook down to its basics.

  18. As a Dolphin fan, we have our own set of problems and I believe we in the process of being rectified.

    BUT I really feel for you Cowboys fans. I cannot imagine what you are going through having to listen to the problem itself–in total denial about the true root cause of the problems—with no end in sight.

  19. The more and more I hear Jerry Jones try to justify the firing of Rob Ryan, the more comfortable I am knowing that Rob Ryan will be able to make the Saints defense ‘not terrible’.

  20. The Cowboys’ defensive failures couldn’t be from a lack of talent. I mean, after all, Jones picked all the talent. Had to be the scheme.

  21. I guess if your players aren’t ‘the sharpest knives in the block’ Jerry, you should go with something simple, ie, sign smarter players!!

  22. How can the majority of football fans, know so little… Jerry makes a valid point… Scheme heavy coordinators limit your personnel options, it takes that much longer for a free agents to adapt or a rookies to learn a system that is scheme heavy… you want players having to think out there but not to the point where it they cant play instinctively.

  23. If half of the people here trying so hard to be funny really watched the Cowboys play last season they would know what Jerry said is true. And it isn’t about players not being smart enough. It is about having to think way too much before the snap about where to line up and what your assignment is. The Cowboys consistently had defensive breakdowns over the two years Rob Ryan was DC because there was just too much going on with the defense.

    Believe it or not, Jerry Jones is the general manager and you can go to just about any NFL city and hear the general manager talk about his team. Unfortunately PFT and ESPN have decided Jerry Jones is the devil. I’m not saying he doesn’t have flaws because he obviously does, but he is allowed to talk about the team he owns and serves as the general manager for.

  24. So let me get this straight. I played football when there were dinosaurs still roaming the earth. I made my money in something completely unrelated to football. I hired the hottest college football coach of the late eighties, no brainer. He drafted a core of Hall of Famers in sucessive first rounds, no brainers. He coached to multiple Super Bowls. And then I offended him and chased him outta town by claiming that I did it all, largely not winning anything since that core cast left.

    How was I wrong?

  25. This just says that the Cowboys players, many being college graduates, sure are dumb to not figure out the schemes on defense or the schemes are too difficult for Jerrah to comprehend.its fun to have him as owner,and GM because there is never a dull moment with him.

  26. As a person who has always hated the Cowboys, I have to say, I feel sorry for their fans. They deserve an owner who is not a complete idiot.

  27. Jerry’s not necessarily wrong. The Tampa Bay defense was great because of its simplicity.

    Defense is reactive by nature: the less that players have to consider, the faster they can move to break-up plays.

    But one legitimate argument does not save him from being a terrible owner.

  28. I may be naive but in the current NFL where the passing game is so heavily emphasized it would seem to me that defenses would be better off playing bump man coverage and blitzing heavily. I have yet to see a zone defense rushing only four stop an opposing offense in the last couple of years

  29. No dog in this fight, but if you look at the direction the NFC East is going, with RG3 and Kelly in Philly, this is going to be a division of running QB, with the exception of Eli. Not to mention they will at some point have to play Kap Wilson, Newton, and all the other read option QB. That could be as many as 8 games in a season against that type of QB. What Kiffin’s defense does is swarm to the ball. If he gets the right players in there (big IF) he could be very effective.

  30. The only way to get this delusional, old fool to back off it to hit him where it hurts the most; his pocketbook. Don’t attend games and don’t buy ANY Cowboys merchandise. Only the sight of empty seats in Jerryworld and dwindling profits will make him back off.

  31. As I’ve said many times…as long as Jerrah THINKS he knows more about drafting and coaching than his coaches OR his personnel department the Cowboys will NEVER get back to the Superbowl….Oh they will make lots of money and be the richest NFL franchise with their palace of an arena/stadium/shopping complex…etc…but win again…NOPE.

    Jerrah has the Al Davis complex….because he has sooo much money he THINKS it makes him a football genius…NOT.

    We finally saw when Little Danny Snyder hired Sheneghan, and got out of the way, they drafted RGIII and the Redskins turned things around.
    Jerrah will never do that. End of story.

  32. Well, the Tampa 2 is simpler alright. So simple that teams figured out yrs. ago and it’s a joke. Take it from an Indy fan that was extremely happy to have the Tampa 2 finally gone from here. Worst defensive scheme in the league. Dallas will be sorry they went to this uneffective style of defense.

  33. The Tampa 2 defense is working great in Chicago because they’ve run the same system for years and have all the personnel to run it. Their simple scheme pays dividends because they generate so many turnovers.

    But, I’m sure running a less complicated defense against Washington with RG3, Chip Kelly’s spread offense in Philly, and Eli Manning picking you apart in NY is going to work out great.

    At least we know that Jerry has the patience with his coaching staff to allow them enough time to implement the scheme completely and bring in the right players. It isn’t like he would meddle with the draft board or fire a coach after two seasons.

  34. One other thing, look what the Bucs did against Vick, in his prime by the way, when Kiffin was there. When most other teams were having trouble containing him, the Bucs pretty owned the guy. Again, it all depends on IF he can get the right players in there. It starts with the D-L ine eating up blockers allowing the LB to get to the ball. And corners that can tackle.

  35. let me look at this thang! the offense doesn’t do squat for the first qtr. and half of the second one. usually score right before halftime to enter the break with a chance to win. come out in the third qtr. plays a little better (sometimes) and finds a way to make the fourth interesting. sometimes they win with Romo having to zip the ball around the entire second half sometimes they lose. and this id Rob Ryan’s fault how?

  36. the Bucs back in the day had Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch, and a young Rhonde Barber. the league had not figured out the tampa 2 as it was fresh and new. Tony Dungy who played safety for Pittsburg designed it. not Grandpa Moses. I can almost see training camp in south Florida now: no one is allowed to get up from from doing push-ups til Monte finds his teeth.

  37. I dont know if Jerry Jones looked at Kiffins defense even in the NCAA but it was destroyed and often the reason why Barkely found himself having to make deep pass plays. The only reason he wasnt fired was because it was his sons team.
    Rob Ryan runs complex looks to force bad plays, too bad Jerry didnt realize that. Good that NO realized that and hired him. Only knock on both Ryans are that they talk too much.

  38. Is it just me or did Jerry just say that his Defense was to stupid to play Rob Ryans defensive scheme?

  39. Yeah, that powerful scheme was so complicated that the only starting QB in the NFL born in the 1990’s beat it soundly twice.

  40. Jerry you’re right. I guess the best fix for the defense was switching to a 4-3 and taking one of the most dominant pass rushers in Damarcus Ware out of his natural position .

  41. There is something to be said for having defenders not thinking too much and simply getting to the football and making plays. I do think some schemes over think it. Often players were caught out of position etc.

    The problem is I don’t think Ryan was capable of comprehending his own defense at times.

  42. Jerry Jones: “Our defensive players are too stoopid to understand multiple schemes.”

  43. The Tampa 2 is a terrible scheme, vulnerable against the run and Tight Ends across the middle. The defense executes the same defense on every single play, as a result offenses can easily figure out how to beat it. Ask Indy, who couldn’t stop the run for the last 10 years.

  44. Jerry Jones hires the staff and probably picks the players.

    Jerry hires Rob Ryan who then turns out to be too smart for the players to understand.

    Jerry sees himself as smart enough to be a GM of an NFL team.

    You can’t make this kind of thing up.

  45. Maybe Jones is only being reported so much because of who he is, but I don’t hear a lot of other GMs speak so publically with such polarizing comments. Too bad Jones can’t learn from observation. I guess its who he is but it makes me feel bad for Cowboys fans when there is more reported about Jones than the team.

  46. I have to agree with JJ on this one. He’s right, Rob Ryan did a better job of confusing and complicating matters than he did at getting the most out of them so that they could be prepared and put into a good position. I had that much figured out before they realized they were going to miss the playoffs LAST year.

    JJ is correct, but once again he’s too slow to learn and evolve in this fast-paced game. Rob Ryan will be the Saints’ problem now.

  47. aka my teams to stupid to lock down schemes after two years bec were not like the giants with spags and cant win a superbowl with an agressive scheme!

    only thing better than a giants w is a dallas L and we seen alot of both in the past decade

  48. Jerry Jones is the embodiment of everything I hate about the Cowboys. He’s vain, arrogant, delusional, ostentatious, and loud.
    He’s beginning to make Al Davis look reasonable. How fun it will be to watch he and his team slowly go down the same drain.

  49. The cowboys don’t have the players for the Tampa 2. The CBs they drafted are not suited to it and are actually wasted in that scheme.

    Sean Lee may not fit in the Tampa 2 and he was one of their few bright spots before his injury.

    Also part of why Kiffin is out at USC is because he had no answer for the new spread offenses he was facing, particularly Oregon.

    So now he has to play against RG3 and the Oregon offense twice per year, not to mention they will likely have to face SF and Seattle in playoffs.

  50. Here’s a thought…

    How about you draft and sign defensive players that can grasp schemes? Jerry just needs to sit behind his huge oak desk, signs checks, and shut the heck up. The Ryan family knows more about the game than Jerry ever thought about knowing.

  51. Sounds more like the majority of the players that Jerry brings in aren’t smart enough to handle the scheme.

  52. Dallas needs a simpler defense with a slimmer playbook.–Jerry Jones

    Yeah, you’ve got all that talent on defense but you want to dumb it down. For what? To keep the talent happy? Did someone walk thru your ‘open door’ and complain about the schemes?

    So it’s ok by you, Jerry, that offenses will read your D like a book from week to week?

    Or. Do you want it simple enough for you to understand so you can meddle with the coaching (perhaps something you couldn’t do with Ryan)?

  53. I can’t stand the Cowboys but I have to admit the NFL was a lot more interesting when they were good. They’re such a boring villain these days and I feel bad even talking about them to my Cowboys’ fan friends.

  54. Jerry Jones is very similar to Al Davis in that he gets wowed by physical attributes more than football IQ. Not to say that the cowboys defenders are dumb but Jones doesn’t seem to value guys who are instinctual as much as they are physical specimens.

    Al Davis had this same issue which is why he was so enamored with the Jamarcus Russell’s of the world. He liked guys with good measurables, good size and big arms (for QB’s).

    But how often do those guys end up being true winners? I’ll take an over achiever who works hard to succeed over the guy who is blessed with so much natural talent that he believes he can be lazy and still win.

    Come to think of it I saw a kid with a t-shirt the other day that said “Lazy but talented” by Nike and thought wow kid, you’re on the wrong track completely.

  55. Words that should never be uttered in the same sentence:
    Rob Ryan & “Skinny”
    Jerry Jones & “GM”

  56. Hes actually right. Everybody wants to over-complicate schemes these days. If you look at the Giants 2 Superbowls, their defense was very straightforward. Get to the QB and play solid man to man on the outside.

  57. Translation of what Jones is really saying…

    Neither myself, my son nor the guys I drafted/signed are smart enough to understand such complex schemes. So I asked him to dumb it down for us & he couldn’t cause only Wade Phillips is dumb enough to do that …so I fired him.

  58. Robs gone and good his defensive strategy was to much of a gamble. It’s time to sign romo for the minimum and draft a QB . Sign two or three veteran linemen trade or cut Jenkins Jones and Austin and a couple more over paid hacks and surprise all the haters.

  59. Al Davis was a legend, but the end was ugly. He should’ve hired GMs and HCs that were actually allowed to run the show at some point, but he never did.

    Jones is heading down the same path, but his decline is more acute.

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