- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Lots of attempts today, in many circles, to figure out what Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones meant when he spoke on the radio about "change" coming to the team in the wake of its second straight 8-8 season. You know what I think, which is that Jones plays to the fans when he does those radio shows and that reading too much into what he says on them is a mistake. But since it's "out there," as they say, let's play along.
Calvin Watkins wonders if defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has anything to fear, and concludes that he probably does not:
Ryan and the rest of the coaching staff never used the injuries as an excuse. But it was clear, Ryan didn't have his best personnel for the majority of the season and with the season on the line, at Washington in the regular season finale, Ryan had his best pass rusher, DeMarcus Ware, play with one arm, which will need surgery soon to repair shoulder and elbow damage.
Jones said numerous teams have health issues and they're able to overcome them.
It seems Ryan's job status is secure, as it should be, but maybe Jones wants the defensive coordinator to make some changes to how he does things.
Maybe. But you have to believe any coach on any team not in the playoffs (and, heck, most of the ones who are in the playoffs) would do that in any offseason. I think the Cowboys like Ryan and that the most likely scenario is that they beef up the defensive line, look at safety upgrades as usual and hope for better health on defense (and it wouldn't be hard to have better health on defense than they had this year). Part of the problem, as I've written before, is the extent to which the Cowboys have injury-prone players at key spots, such as inside linebacker, nose tackle and running back. But there's not a lot they can do about that but improve the depth, and I think any "changes" you might see will be confined to player personnel. Jones blusters for his radio audience, but in reality he's committed to patience for head coach Jason Garrett, and my belief is that he'll continue to let Garrett do things the way he believes they should be done. As recently as two weeks ago, everybody seemed to think that was working out well.