How does Ryan fit in Dallas?

The Dallas Cowboys have hired Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to fill the same position under head coach Jason Garrett. Ryan comes from perhaps the most famous family of NFL defensive coaches, but beyond that, how much is known?

On the surface, it's easy to suggest that Rob Ryan is the most "normal" of the family's coaches. His father, Buddy, was the crusty Chicago defensive coordinator from the Bears' Super Bowl team and head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles who was known almost as much for his outlandish comments as he was for being the architect of the über-aggressive "46" defense.

Rob Ryan's twin brother, Rex, is the outspoken and often outlandish head coach of the New York Jets, where he has improved his team in large part because of a fast, physical defense.

Compared to his father and brother, Rob Ryan might appear almost boring, but that simply is because he has not enjoyed the national exposure the others have, because he has yet to be an NFL coach — a position many assume is just a matter of time. But make no mistake: many can pick out Rob Ryan only when he had wild locks of long hair, but he is every bit as combative and outspoken and profane as his the rest of his family.

Ryan comes to Dallas after two years on Lake Erieas the Browns' defensive coordinator, which followed a five-year stint in the same role with the Oakland Raiders.

Using statistics to predict his impact on the Dallas defense is somewhat difficult. In the 2010 regular season, the Browns ranked 22nd in the NFL in total defense (giving up an average of 350.1 yards per game). They ranked 18th in passing yards given up (220.7 per game) and 27th against the run (129.4 per game). The Browns were tied for 25th in the NFL with 29 sacks and tied for 13th in scoring defense, surrendering an average of 20.8 points per game.

Those aren't the gaudy numbers and rankings some might want in a new coordinator, but consider the fact that the Browns gave up 1.7 yards and 6.5 fewer points per game than the Cowboys, despite boasting a lineup of defensive players most would consider substantially less talented than those playing for the Dallas defense, which surrendered a franchise-record 436 points in 2010.

While the Browns' defensive numbers were somewhat pedestrian last season, the team showed a marked improvement on defense over the previous season.

The Cleveland defense picked off 19 passes during the 2010 season, tying for the eighth-highest total in the NFL. The Browns also fielded a stingy unit when it came to surrendering points on the ground — of the 36 touchdowns Cleveland surrendered in 2010, only seven came on the ground, tying the Browns with the Tennesse Titans and St. Louis Rams for the fourth-lowest total in the league.

Ryan replaces Paul Pasqualoni, who took over as the Cowboys' defensive coordinator when former head coach Wade Phillips was fired. Pasqualoni left Dallas to take over as head coach at the University of Connecticut after former head coach Randy Edsall left Storrs to become the head coach at the University of Maryland.

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