Rob Ryan an assistant on the rise

IRVING, Texas -- Rob Ryan might not be around the Cowboys too long.

The guys over at ESPN.com have turned their attention to rising assistant coaches in the Power Ranking series and the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator came in second to New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.

Ryan is about to enter his biggest stage as a coach as the Cowboys’ coordinator. He is in position to earn a lot of points because of how far the defense sunk in 2010, and he has said there is more talent here than what he had to work with in Oakland or Cleveland.

Ryan will have to do it with little or no off-season work depending on the collective bargaining talks. While I don’t believe that will hurt as much as some people think, it will be a small issue.

If Ryan can turn the Cowboys around, then he will become sought after as a head coach. He has a style and personality that players love and the success of his twin brother, Rex, with the New York Jets will help his cause, too.

Carolina, Cleveland, Oakland, Minnesota, Tennessee and the Cowboys went with first-time head coaches this off-season. Maybe that’s a trend, but at some point Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden and Brian Billick could get back in the game.

Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis received a vote and tied for 22nd. Former Cowboys assistants Mike Zimmer (Cincinnati) and Todd Bowles (Miami) were 11th and tied for 13th in the voting.

The fact that Ryan is considered head coach material is a good thing. You want teams to look at your staff because that means you have the right guys coaching. Just as Jerry Jones keeps a small list in his desk drawer of future head coaches, I’m sure Jason Garrett has a list of guys he could add to his staff depending on moves in the future.

If you’re looking for an in-house candidate, start with linebackers coach Matt Eberflus. He came with Ryan from Cleveland and has earned rave reviews from the folks at Valley Ranch. He has only two years of NFL experience, but he is considered smart and tough.