- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan isn’t talking to the media after games this season, so we’ll have to wait until Friday afternoon to ask this question:
What the heck was up with that soft game plan against the Seahawks?
This was a disgrace to the blitz-happy Ryan family name. Give credit to Seattle’s Russell Wilson for playing a poised, mistake-free game, but the Cowboys barely tried to rattle the vertically challenge rookie quarterback with blitzes.
Ryan called only six blitzes on Wilson’s 25 dropbacks. And this came after Wilson went 6-of-18 for 47 yards and was sacked three times against five-plus-man pressure in a Week 1 loss to the Cardinals, according to numbers crunched by ESPN Stats & Information.
It’s not like Wilson burned the Cowboys when they blitzed. He was 3-of-5 for only 21 yards and was sacked once.
Wilson, who had plenty of time in the pocket against the Cowboys’ three- and four-man rushes, completed 12 of 15 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown when Dallas didn’t blitz. He also scrambled three times for 26 yards and was sacked once, in garbage time.
The Seahawks averaged 7.6 yards per play when Wilson dropped back against regular pressure. Seattle averaged 2.8 yards per play when Wilson dropped back against the blitz. But the Cowboys blitzed less than a quarter of his dropbacks?!
The Cowboys’ personnel makes the lack of aggressiveness by Ryan even more puzzling.
The Cowboys’ sorry cornerbacks forced Ryan to play soft too often last season. That’s no longer the case after Jerry Jones invested $50 million in Brandon Carr and a first-round pick in Morris Claiborne. The Cowboys should have felt more than comfortable leaving their corners alone against mediocre receivers like Sidney Rice, Braylon Edwards and Golden Tate.
And the Seahawks played most of the game with a backup left tackle and right guard. Maybe Ryan figured that Pro Bowl pass rusher DeMarcus Ware would wreak havoc against Frank Omiyale, a tackle so bad the Bears got rid of him. Ware’s lack of impact was one of the biggest mysteries of the afternoon.
But why not see if Seattle’s patchwork offensive line could handle Ryan’s creative blitz schemes? Why not force a munchkin rookie quarterback to make decisions under duress?
We’ll try to get answers. Just wait until Friday.