FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots had a core of tremendous linebackers that helped them reach a Super Bowl level earlier in the decade, and Rob Ryan was the man behind that operation.
Ryan, now the Cowboys defensive coordinator, won a pair of Super Bowls as New England's linebackers coach from 2000-03. He also led a group that included Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel, Ted Johnson, Bryan Cox, Roman Phifer and Larry Izzo.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has always been complimentary of Ryan and his family — including his father, Buddy, and his brother, Rex — and he has praised him for his defensive approach all week while preparing for the Cowboys. Belichick also credited Ryan with the work he did with the group of linebackers in New England.
"Rob did a good job," Belichick said. "Rob is a good coach, smart guy, has a real good football background. Works hard, understands the game and did a real good job with the group that we had — Mike and Tedy, Willie, all those guys. [He] did a nice job."