After another failed season in Dallas, changes from Jerry Jones were both expected and necessary. However, the first move Jones made was to dismiss defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. This move is puzzling because the play of the Cowboys defense was one of the few bright spots in a lost season.
Jones has cited the early season losses to the Seahawks and Bears as his primary reason for making the change. Sure, both games were ugly for Dallas, but each loss had very little to do with the Cowboys defense. In Seattle, the Cowboys fell behind early due to a couple of special teams miscues. Making a change in special teams would have been justified for Jones, but he fired Ryan instead.
Tony Romo threw five interceptions in the loss to the Bears, but Jones has concluded the defense was to blame. Maybe he just doesn't understand the game of football. That would certainly explain his incompetence in all football-related moves since Jimmy Johnson left the organization.
Romo is on pace to shatter club records in the passing game, but the hesitancy of Jones to criticize his untimely mistakes is inexcusable. The loss to the Bears was due to the play of Romo, yet Jones decided to throw Ryan under the bus. Fans in Dallas may continue to support the Cowboys, but they have lost all faith in Jones.
Despite a significant amount of injuries on defense, Rob Ryan's unit performed very well. His defense may be complicated, but it is also suited for the modern day NFL. Dallas has had the personnel to be among the league leaders in defense over the past few seasons; however, the schemes Dallas has used minimized the impact of a talented defensive unit.
All Jones needed to do was show a little patience with Ryan. His defense was beginning to grasp the complicated system he has been attempting to run since he was hired. More importantly, the Cowboys defense was finally making strides to dominance. Ryan's defense was beginning to show results and Jones made him the scapegoat.
The common theme in Dallas this season was the lack of preparation in the offense and special teams. Why were these coaches not held accountable for their flaws? Why does Jason Garrett keep his job? Jones dismissed the wrong coach because Ryan's defense was ready to play at a high-level each week.
In a year filled with offensive inconsistency and special teams miscues, the defense single-handedly made the Cowboys competitive. Ryan's defense almost saved the Cowboys season, but Jones decided to dismiss the person responsible for the team staying in contention.