Jerryâ€™s mad; is it time for Garrett to worry?
The Cowboys fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan on Tuesday. Blame Robert Griffin III.
This will not be in the press release. It is the truth.
The Redskins quarterback beat the Cowboys on a single leg in the season finale. With another week of healing, RG3 barely had time to breathe against an obviously better Seattle defense.
And so less than a week after promising anger and discomfort, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones landed on a target: The leader of his battered and ineffectual defense. The feeling around Valley Ranch was Ryan inherited a good defense from Wade Phillips that had not gotten better and, while there were injuries, there were playmakers left. These were Jones' own words.
Translation: They were 8-8 and somebody had to pay. Jones had promised as much in an interview on the Cowboys flagship radio station last week.
“I can assure our fans this, that it is going to be very uncomfortable from my standpoint; it’s going to be very uncomfortable for the next few weeks and months at Valley Ranch,” Jones said.
This brought giggles from most in the league, and absolute belly laughs from longtime Cowboys watchers. Nobody is laughing any more.
A week that began with firing running backs coach Skip Peete — a big deal mostly for Peete — continued with letting go of a Ryan brother. Firing Ryan two years into a three-year deal is a much bigger deal and a real sign that Jones’ patience level has run out. He had told me as much in the week leading up to the season finale against Washington.
I asked if it was hard to be patient when the Redskins were finding a way to win with a rookie quarterback. He demurred, and I asked if he was losing patience period.
“Well now that’s a different question,” Jones said and then went on to admit that yes, he is finding it hard to be patient.
“It is hard watching these games unfold and what we’re doing and especially the way we are doing it we are doing it early in the ballgames the way we are playing,” he said. “When you know and figure what is at stake, a fumble, those kinds of things, it is a little bit of agony.”
In other words, he was feeling this way before Week 17. Getting beat by the ‘Skins and their rookie quarterback, settling for yet another 8-8 season without playoffs then watching Seattle (with a rookie quarterback) beat Washington had to have dropped Jones’ patience level to zero. And he was not firing Cowboys coach Jason Garrett so . . .
Does Ryan deserve to be dropped in the grease for this failure? Hardly.
The Cowboys defense was without big-time playmakers like Sean Lee, lost for the season in October, and relying upon a very beat up DeMarcus Ware. He barely looked like himself in that ‘Skins game. There certainly were more excuses on that side of the ball than offensively.
This will make the next couple of days and weeks at Valley Ranch very interesting. More specifically, it will be interesting to see how uncomfortable, if at all, things get for Garrett. His job as head coach is safe but the same is not guaranteed for his role as play-calling offensive coordinator. Jones always insisted he wanted his coach to call plays on whatever side of the ball was his specialty but there are fair questions about Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s development, as well as clock management.
So there is a chance, albeit a slim one, that Jones forces a coordinator on Garrett. If so, it will be more fallout from the loss to the ‘Skins and a Jones’ patience level that has bottomed out.