Cowboys' defense covers for offense

IRVING, Texas -- Can we stop making Rob Ryan the scapegoat for the Dallas Cowboys' dud of a 2011 season?

Can we start holding Jason Garrett accountable for an offense that has regressed from average to awful?

Yeah, Ryan's defense fell far short of his over-the-top preseason predictions a year ago, but it's ridiculous to act as if the Cowboys missed the playoffs solely because they allowed too many points. Breaking news: Garrett's offense was just as mediocre.

The Cowboys ranked 15th in the NFL in points scored and 16th in points allowed. They were about as average as could be on both sides of the ball, which was reflected in their 8-8 record. Yet the coordinator whose defense improved from dreadful to decent got a bigger share of the blame than the head coach who calls offensive plays.

Fast forward four games into this season. Ryan's defense has held up its end of the bargain despite Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff not playing a down yet and four other starters missing at least one game. Garrett's offense has been terrible with the exception of the Week 1 win.

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