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Rob Ryan downplays revenge factor: 'We've got a lot to prove'

METAIRIE, La. -- Naturally, sharp-witted New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan threw in a couple sarcastic references about being fired by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2012 season on Friday.

When asked about Dallas' offense, Ryan cracked, "You know, they’ve had a change in coordinator, like they do every year."

And when asked about past criticism that his schemes in Dallas were too complicated, Ryan said, "I think whatever excuse people need to make about letting me go, I’m sure there’s a long line of them."

But revenge hardly seems to be at the forefront of Ryan’s mind as the Saints prepare for a Sunday night prime-time showdown at Dallas.

Ryan already got his revenge last season when the Saints routed the Cowboys 49-17 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This week, Ryan said he is more concerned with getting the 1-2 Saints back to .500.

"I’m sure I’ll be cheered heavily there," Ryan deadpanned, when asked if the thought of playing at Dallas gets a little extra rise out of him. "But I just think, look, this time, we’ve got a lot to prove. We’re working hard on defense. We want to get better. We have to get better."

Players agreed that the Ryan-Dallas connection wasn’t anywhere on the radar this week.

"We want to be great. We’ve got a lot of work to do. But our guys are working hard. And we’re excited about this game," Ryan said. "We know they’re a well-coached team, and they’ve got a lot of great players there. We can’t wait to go out there and play."

Ryan was later asked about Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ recent comments on Dallas radio that, "Rob’s going to make a great head coach. I haven’t seen anybody that is better in front of a team and better motivating than Rob Ryan."

"Welp, I think he’s right," Ryan told Ramon Antonio Vargas of The Advocate.

Ryan said he understood that change was needed after the Cowboys went 8-8 in 2012 -- he's just never made any secret about his objection to being made the scapegoat.

"Jerry Jones wants to win worse than any other owner in football," Ryan told The Advocate. "I just don’t think he always gets the best advice from people all the time."