- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- Oh, that poor, disrespected Dallas Cowboys’ defense.
At least, that’s the picture that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan paints when he discusses the Cowboys’ Week 1 upset over the New York Giants.
“The only reason we stopped them was their lack of execution,” Ryan said sarcastically a couple of days before the rematch between NFC East rivals. “It had nothing to do with our players or our scheme. That’s been well documented. That was said. They give a lot of credit where credit is due, and it’s just because of their lack of execution.
“We got the message, we understand that. That’ll be great. We’re looking forward to that challenge. They’re the Super Bowl champs. We’ve given them nothing but respect. They’ve hung a million yards up on us before. Then when we played them the first game of the year, they just had a bad day.”
Well, the Giants didn’t put up a million yards against Ryan’s defense last season, but it might have seemed that way.
New York lit the Cowboys up for 510 yards in the Giants’ 37-34 win at Cowboys Stadium in Week 14. A few weeks later, with the NFC East title and a playoff berth on the line, the Giants racked up 437 yards in a 31-14 win that started their Super Bowl run.
The Cowboys’ defense, which addressed its primary weakness by adding cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne this offseason, held the Giants to 269 total yards in Dallas’ season-opening 24-17 win.
“They’re the Super Bowl champs and we’re going to do the best we can,” Ryan said. “And like they said before, it was all them. That’s the only reason they self-destructed apparently against us last time. So hopefully they have another bad game. It would take another miracle.”
Asked where he heard all this talk about the opener just being a bad game for the Giants, Ryan said: “I got big ears and I hear things after the game. And I was like, ‘That’s a bunch of [expletive].’ But it’s OK. We’ll find out.”