Rob Ryan's changes paying dividends

Familiarity with scheme, influx of talent has Cowboys' defense on the upswing

Updated: September 11, 2012, 2:14 PM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- Rob Ryan knew changes were needed for his defense after the 2011 season.

Four losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants last year convinced the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator and everyone around him that the defense wasn't good enough.

Flash forward to the the 2012 regular-season opener. The Cowboys held the Giants to 269 yards of total offense and sacked quarterback Eli Manning three times. In the two losses to the Giants in 2011, the Cowboys ...

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