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Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Compared to '10 defense, Ryan's better but ...

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas -- Statistically, Rob Ryan’s first season with the Cowboys was an improvement from what the defense did in 2010.

When the defense was as bad as it was in 2010 that’s not exactly saying much.

The Cowboys were ranked 23rd in yards and 31st in points in 2010. They finished 14th in yards and 16th in points in 2011.

Again, it was better but not good enough.

Much has been made about the lack of an offseason together because of the lockout. Maybe Ryan wasn’t able to institute his full plan or do it the way he would have with a full complement of organized team activities and mini-camps but the lack of offseason work is too much of an excuse.

Wade Phillips took over a defense that finished 30th in yard and 29th in points in Houston in 2010 and turned it into the second- and fourth-ranked defense in yards and points.

Vic Fangio, whom Jason Garrett interviewed for the coordinator gig before Ryan, took over a San Francisco defense that finished 13th (yards) and 16th (points) in 2010 and the Niners improved to fourth and second in 2011.

Dick Jauron took Ryan’s job in Cleveland and the Browns went from 22nd in yards and 13th in points in 2010 to 10th in yards and fifth in points in 2011.

For as bad as everybody thought Juan Castillo did in Philadelphia this year, the Eagles were eighth in yards allowed and 10th in points a year after they were 12th and 22nd.

Of the 12 new coordinators in 2011, only three did not improve the numbers from 2010 to ’11 and one was San Diego’s Greg Manusky, who also interviewed with Garrett. The Chargers were first in yards and 10th in points in 2010 and were 16th and 22nd in 2011. The other two drops happened in Carolina and Minnesota.