Cowboys to interview Rob Ryan, Horton for DC opening

Published Jan. 13, 2011 11:03 p.m. EST

By Mike Piellucci

With Paul Pasqualoni returning to the college ranks, and Greg Manusky and Vic Fangio expected to land elsewhere, the Cowboys are acting quickly to bring in more candidates for their vacant defensive coordinator position.

According to The Dallas Morning News' Gerry Fraley, the Cowboys have been given permission to interview Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton for the opening.

Ryan, the twin brother of Jets head coach Rex Ryan and son of Cowboys nemesis Buddy Ryan, has a year remaining on his contract but is unlikely to be retained by new head coach Pat Shurmur, giving the Cowboys a rare opportunity to interview a coach who is already installed at the same position elsewhere in the league.

Horton, meanwhile, has ties to the organization after playing for the Cowboys from 1989-1992 and has served in his current position with the Steelers since 2007.

Should it come down to a Ryan-Horton decision, it would create a dilemma of experience versus potential for the Cowboys.

The famously scruffy Ryan has seven seasons of defensive coordinator experience for Oakland and Cleveland and is well-versed in running a 3-4 defense. In those seven seasons, however, none of his teams finished above .500, raising the question whether it was Ryan's fault or if it was the roster itself that caused most of the problems.

Horton, meanwhile, has no coordinator experience but has been a key part of the coaching staff of one of the league's model organizations. Whether or not he lands the job could depend on how well he can convince Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones that his growing pains will be less than pronounced than Garrett's after the new head coach endured a up-and-down tenure as a first-time coordinator on offense.

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