Ryan Brings New England Flavor To Dallas

When Rob Ryan took over Eric Mangini's (actually Romeo Crennel's) defense in Cleveland, he pulled off two of the most unlikely upsets in another woeful Browns season -- beating the Saints and Patriots. Now Ryan has landed in a new locale where he can ply his trade. Will Dallas be the next team running a version of New England's 3-4 defense?

Get ready for the odd couple in Dallas featuring buttoned down Jason Garrett and the crass Rob Ryan.

That will be the pairing running the Cowboys' offense and defense now that the Cowboys have hired Ryan as the defensive coordinator on Garrett's new staff.

After seeing three potential defensive coordinator candidates take jobs elsewhere, Garrett zeroed in on Ryan during a whirlwind interview process on Jan. 14 that ran through the weekend.

Ryan, who ran the Browns' defense the past two years, showed up at the Cowboys' headquarters on Jan. 19 with boxes in hand and ready to go.

Ryan may have not been the team's first choice.

The Cowboys interviewed Stanford coordinator Vic Fangio on Jan. 10 and then San Francisco 49ers coordinator Greg Manusky two days later. But Fangio took a position with the 49ers and Manusky signed on with the San Diego Chargers.

Paul Pasqualoni, who ran the Cowboys' defense the last eight games of the season, went back to the college game as Connecticut's head coach.

But Ryan, who runs the 3-4 defense the Cowboys employ, might be the right choice.

The colorful Ryan, who is every bit the twin brother of Jets head coach Rex Ryan and son of ex-Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan, doesn't have an the Ivy league education of Garrett. He also likes to string four letter words together more so than four syllable ones like Garrett.

Garrett, however, values passion and commitment. He preached to his team about it.

Well, Ryan has it in spades.

He might be needed to jump-start a defense that was arguably the worst in Cowboys franchise history last season.

The Cowboys set team records for most yards allowed, passing yards allowed, touchdowns allowed and points allowed.

Also key to the pairing is Ryan's experience. He has been an NFL defensive coordinator for seven seasons -- with the Oakland Raiders from 2004-08 and the last two years with the Browns.

Considering that Garrett is a first-time head coach, it was important that he hire a coordinator who wasn't calling defensive plays for the first time.

Ryan also has experience working with conservative, understated head coaches such as Patriots boss Bill Belichick, for whom he was linebackers coach, and Eric Mangini, his head coach in Cleveland.

And while Ryan's defenses weren't great in Cleveland - the Browns finished 13th in points allowed per game (20.8) and 22nd in yards allowed (350.1) last season -- he did come up with plans to shut down Drew Brees and Tom Brady in shocking wins over the Saints and the Patriots for a 5-11 Browns team.

What's also true is that he will have more talent to work with in Dallas, where he will have Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware and Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff at his disposal.

No one from Browns made the Pro Bowl the past two seasons.

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