- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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ESPN NFL writer John Clayton listed the ten coaches who are most affected by the lockout. It was interesting he didn't have Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan on the list.
Ryan has a new defensive scheme to implement and can't do it with no players hanging around Valley Ranch. The Cowboys have veteran players on the defensive unit in inside linebackers Bradie James and Keith Brooking, cornerback Terence Newman and probably the best outside pass rusher in the game in DeMarcus Ware.
But there were issues with this defense, which allowed a franchise-record 436 points in 2010 and saw numerous underachieving performances from corner Mike Jenkins, nose tackle Jay Ratliff and outside linebacker Anthony Spencer.
Ryan has to find a new defensive end (Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher are potential starters if the team doesn't find a new end in free agency), two safeties (Alan Ball is going back to corner and Gerald Sensabaugh is a free agent) and see if Sean Lee can make the jump in his second season to earn more playing time on passing downs.
Things won't be easy for Ryan and a defense that appears to be getting older.
The Cowboys had a chance to get younger along the defensive line, but elected to go with offensive tackle Tyron Smith in the first round. The second-round selection of Bruce Carter is not for this year, but mainly for 2012 as a potential replacement at one of the inside linebacker spots.
Ryan has plenty of work to do for the Cowboys in 2011, but this lockout prevents him from getting started.
One coach who definitely has an issue is new Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. Here's Clayton's thoughts on the new DC in Philly: "It was going to be difficult for a veteran offensive line coach to switch over to coordinate the defense. Now Castillo must do it without an offseason and maybe a training camp. Eagles coach Andy Reid believed he needed a change in defensive philosophies. The Eagles' defense came from the brilliant mind of Jim Johnson, but his death left a void. Johnson had some of the best blitzes in football, but many relied on Johnson's feel of the game and years of experience."