Cowboys players miss Rob Ryan

November, 8, 2013
11/08/13
2:50
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- From different stretches of the Dallas Cowboys locker room the comments regarding former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan are positive. The players know this is a business and that at times, the business gets in the way of friendship.

Ryan, now the defensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints, faces the Cowboys Sunday night and there will be plenty of smiles before the game.

"He's always talking something I don’t know what he's going to tell us but I played for him for a while (and) he was a great coach," defensive end DeMarcus Ware said. "I want to see what type of blitzes and stuff he will dial up this week."

In two seasons, Ryan's big personality was overwhelmed by injuries to a defensive unit that expected to be dominant. Ryan arrived here as someone who was supposed to make the Cowboys' defense the best in the league.

Last season, the Cowboys finished 19th in total defense, but it wasn't good enough for Jerry Jones who made a move to leg Ryan go.

But left in his wake were players who were glad Ryan believed in them.

"I owe a lot to that man," defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said. "It's going to be good to see his crazy butt and we’re going to hang out after the game talk a little bit and catch up."

When Ryan was coaching in Cleveland, the Browns sent their scouts to look at Hatcher, then at Grambling State. Ryan told Hatcher he could get drafted in the fourth but the Cowboys selected him in the third round.

"Just the relationship, me and him had on and off the field," Hatcher said of Ryan. "He did a lot for my career. Just came in (and) he's one of those guys that came in and believed in me right away. He believed in me when he was coaching in Cleveland."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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