MOBILE, Ala. -- Two big things Cowboys coach Jason Garrett likes about new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan are that he's from a football family and he's pretty good at what he does.
Ryan's dad, Buddy, was an NFL coach. His brother Rex is the coach of the New York Jets. We all know the history of the Garrett family, with his dad being a long-time scout and his two brothers also coaching in the NFL.
"He’s a football guy," Garrett said. "He certainly grew up. His dad is arguably one of the great coaches ever in this league. We know the success his brother has had both as an assistant coach and as a coordinator and also as a head coach. Rob comes from that same cloth. What’s attractive to me about him, and it’s hard not to see it when you start talking to him, is how excited he is about football, how passionate he is about football. The scheme part of it. The teaching part of it. And really everything that goes with it. He’s fun to be around."
Garrett told a story of how during the interview process, Ryan couldn't wait to get out of his shirt and tie and start to get on the grease board and start diagramming defensive plays. While Garrett is considered a shirt and tie guy -- despite wearing the same Cowboys cap until it's beaten up before changing it -- he wanted someone who can not only related well to the players but hold them accountable.
"One of the things that everybody talked about, one of the things you see on tape, is how his players played for him," Garrett said. "I think it creates an atmosphere where it’s hard, it’s tough. Guys work at it, but at the same time they enjoy playing football for him. A lot of different people told me that. I think you see that on tape and you certainly see it when you get a chance to visit with him."
You should give Garrett credit for the Ryan hire. He did interview three candidates for the position before settling on someone that has the opposite personality of him.
Garrett was looking for a guy who was a good football coach who could add some spice to the defense, and if his players have fun doing it, so be it, as long as the job gets done.
While Garrett is working on his skills as a head coach, he's done a good job with his first major hire. Yes, owner Jerry Jones gave him the power to fill the coaching staff, but it's interesting to note that Garrett went with a guy who is noted for his quotes with reporters as well as how well his defense plays.
"I think we have a lot of things in common," Garrett said. "One of the things I’m attracted to him about was he’s a football guy. He loves football. You get him in a room and start talking about it, it’s easy to see the passion that he has for it."