The Cowboys were swept by the New York Giants and Philadelphia last season in large part because Ryan’s defense could not make enough plays. The Giants scored 68 points, gained 810 yards and had 47 first downs in two meetings. The Eagles had 64 points, 881 yards and 51 first downs in two meetings.
The game at Lincoln Financial Field was a mess for Ryan. The Eagles had 495 yards on 70 plays, slicing through the Cowboys all evening.
“It was as poor a coaching job as I’ve ever done in 15 years in the NFL,” Ryan said. “The second time around was more up to what we need to do.”
The Eagles scored only 20 points and LeSean McCoy was held 35 yards on the ground, 150 less than he had in the first meeting.
Ryan’s work the second time against the Giants was better as well, and his work in the two meetings this season was impressive. Eli Manning did not eclipse 200 yards passing in either game and the Cowboys forced three turnovers.
“It took me awhile to learn the NFC East,” Ryan said. “We’ll see if all the work we’ve done in the offseason until now is going to pay off. I think the Giants and Eagles had their way with us. A lot of that was me not knowing the (division) but I know the (division) now so we’ll see how it goes.”
Ryan hadn’t worked in the NFC East since 1995 when he was with his dad, Buddy, in Arizona.
“Every place you go to players look different in person,” Ryan said. “On tape they look a certain way then you see them on the field and they’re a different way. I thought McCoy was a heckuva player; now I know he’s the best back in football. You have to have special plans for him or else you’re going to be in trouble.”