No, Rob Ryan wasn't hired over the weekend as Rams defensive coordinator. But there's no doubt there is interest in Ryan by coach Jeff Fisher.
The question then becomes, would Ryan be a fit as the new Rams defensive coordinator? He was fired last week two years into a three-year contract as defensive coordinator in Dallas.
By the numbers, the Cowboys finished 19th in total defense, 25th in points allowed, tied for 18th in red zone defense, and 23rd in third-down defense in 2012. Ranking 19th in the NFL in total defense may not sound that bad, but the Cowboys' 5,687 yards allowed was a franchise worst. The Cowboys came up with only 16 turnovers — only three teams in the league had fewer.
Then again, Ryan wasn't exactly playing with a full deck. Four defensive starters were lost to season-ending injuries. In addition, Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff played in only six games because of a foot injury and a sports hernia. And elite pass rusher DeMarcus Ware was limited by shoulder, elbow and hamstring injuries.
The injuries took their toll as the season wore on. Through eight games, the Cowboys ranked fifth in the league in total defense, allowing 312.5 yards a game. Over the last eight games, the average leaped to 398.3 yards a game.
Practice squad linebacker (and St. Louisan) Jerry Brown was killed in a Dec. 8 auto accident, resulting in charges of intoxication and manslaughter charges against teammate Josh Brent. A nose tackle, Brent had been Ratliff's replacement in the starting lineup. It's impossible to truly gauge the impact of that human tragedy on the Cowboys' defense — but it couldn't have helped.
Flamboyant, and at times boastful, Ryan was popular with his players by all accounts. In terms of play-calling, he wasn't afraid to take chances, although he did much less blitzing in 2012 than in 2011 when the Cowboys allowed the second-most passing yards (3,906) in franchise history.
Would Rob Ryan fit Rams' needs?
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jan 15