Jerry Jones probably knew earlier than Sunday night that ditching defensive coordinator Rob Ryan after last season wasn’t the most prudent of choices (although the decision didn’t stand out too much, as the man is not known for prudence).
But after Ryan and his new team, the Saints, affirmed that strongly Sunday night by thrashing the Cowboys 49-17, Jones did swallow his pride a bit and admit as much in public.
“We thought it was best for us to go in the direction we are, and it doesn’t look good right now,” Jones said of firing Ryan and going with Monte Kiffin at defensive coordinator instead, according to dallascowboys.com. “Hopefully we can make it look good, but I have all the feelings you have any time you look back at a decision, and I realize when some of them work, you have to have a few things go along with it.”
While the Cowboys haven’t been completely horrendous all-around — Dallas is at the top of the NFC East with a 5-5 record — the team has had its defensive problems with Kiffin. Only three other NFL teams have allowed more points than the Cowboys’ 258. Even worse, though, the Saints are just wrecking the league, having gone 7-2 with just 163 points allowed and a defense that, well, looks like the pride of the NFC after finishing last in the NFL in defense last year.
“We had our reasons for making our change, and [Saints head coach] Sean [Payton] did a good job of getting Rob down here,” Jones said. “He’s as smart as he can be, from an outstanding football bloodline. That’s why we hired him two years ago with the Cowboys.”
Dallas gave up 625 yards and 7.8 yards a play on Sunday night, including allowing 40 first downs to New Orleans’ offense. Jones pointed to injuries, such as the Cowboys losing standout linebacker Sean Lee in the second quarter to a hamstring tweak, as part of the reason.
“I thought we were certainly compromised, relative to our defense, where we are right now with personnel,” he said. “That’s not an excuse, because we still didn’t play as well as they played.”
Dallas, meanwhile, was stifled by Ryan and the Saints’ defense. The Cowboys didn’t gain a first down in nine third-down attempts and had just 193 yards overall. That had Jones talking the way he talks right before he fires somebody.
“It’s embarrassing to lose. It’s embarrassing to not be representative, not be competitive — all of these things,” he said. “But more importantly, the real issue, can we do something about it?”
Letting Kiffin go would seem like an obvious option at this point … unless the Cowboys double down and make sure they don’t make another rash decision at defensive coordinator, that is.
Photo via Twitter/@NOTZBo
The Steelers showed up for this game, apparently.
So, that’s what happened to Dallas.
Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) November 11, 2013
Oh, Justin Tucker. (Thanks, Deadspin.)