Commentary

Rob Ryan needs to lower volume

Brash defensive coordinator should curb trash talk until Cowboys can back him up

Updated: November 1, 2011, 1:34 AM ET
By Jean-Jacques Taylor | ESPNDallas.com

PHILADELPHIA -- The Dallas Cowboys have had more than their share of miserable moments in this mean-spirited city, where the fans once booed Santa Claus.

Hey, no one is ever going to forget that.

[+] EnlargeRob Ryan
Rich Schultz /Getty ImagesRob Ryan's brash style is refreshing, but for the Cowboys' sake, perhaps he needs to scale back a bit.
Just like longtime Cowboys fans won't forget Barry Switzer and fourth-and-1 (twice) in 1995. Or those knuckleheads cheering Michael Irvin's being down as he lay motionless on the field with a neck injury in 1999.

Then there's the Cowboys' 38-point loss in 2008, when a victory would have resulted in a playoff berth.

And those games are off the top of my head.

Guess what?

We can add the "All-Hype Hiney Kicking" to the list after the Philadelphia Eagles smacked the Cowboys 34-7 on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

If you're looking to assign blame -- based on Facebook and Twitter, you are -- feel free to pin this loss on our resident loudmouth: defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

Remember back in training camp when he made comments about beating the "all-hype team"? Well, he didn't mention the Eagles by name, but we all know whom he was talking about.

He recently referred to it again, saying something about kicking the Eagles' butt if they weren't ready to play.

After the game, Ryan seemed contrite.

"The whole [expletive] thing was on me," Ryan said. "If I gave them any extra motivation, hell, I certainly never backed it up. I gave our guys a lousy plan. We had no chance, and it's all on me."

Well, alrighty then.

Trash-talking has never bothered me, so if Ryan wants to do it every week, fine. Frankly, it's amusing in the way-too-often PC world of the NFL, which is multiplied by 100 when it comes to Jason Garrett's team.

Hey, you can discount the need for outside motivation if you want, but with athletes, you never really know what slight -- real or perceived -- they'll cling to for motivation.

If I gave them any extra motivation, hell, I certainly never backed it up. I gave our guys a lousy plan. We had no chance, and it's all on me.

-- Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan
Laugh if you want. Nothing funny about the scoreboard, huh?

Maybe, just maybe, Ryan needs to shut up for a little while.

Perhaps he can start yapping again when -- and if -- the Cowboys ever become an upper-echelon team.

Don't forget, Ryan made some comments about Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, one of the game's best, being the third-best receiver on the Cowboys. All "Megatron" did was catch eight passes for 96 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a Detroit win.

"I'm not going to say they were any more motivated," Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears said. "We had some slogans in the paper, and they had some slogans in the paper. That's football. We just didn't get the job done."

The Cowboys had played 11 consecutive games that were decided by four points or fewer, spanning two seasons, until last week's blowout of the St. Louis Rams.

This marks the first time the Cowboys have been blown out since last November, when they laid down against the Green Bay Packers in a humiliating 45-7 loss.

The next day, Jerry Jones fired Wade Phillips.

Understand, Garrett isn't going anywhere any time soon, but this is the first time we've seen one of his teams pounded.

Perhaps Garrett deserves a pass because this is Andy Reid's ninth win of 22 points or more against the Cowboys since he took over the Eagles in 1999.

Five came against Dave Campo, two against Bill Parcells and one each against Phillips and Garrett.

Philadelphia scored Sunday on its first five possessions -- three touchdowns and two field goals -- and led 27-0 midway through the third quarter. At that point, the Eagles had 392 yards and 25 first downs; your Cowboys had 112 yards and five first downs.

Pathetic.

Then again, rebuilding teams occasionally have performances such as this. Your Cowboys aren't that good, and they're not that bad, either.

They're mediocre, which is why the playoffs are a pipe dream.

They're not as talented as Philadelphia or as consistent as the New York Giants in the NFC East.

As for the rest of the NFC, the Green Bay Packers are better. The Chicago Bears are better. The Lions are better. The New Orleans Saints are better. The Atlanta Falcons are better. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are better. And the San Francisco 49ers are better, even though Dallas beat them.

The Cowboys, losers of three of their past four games, need 10 wins to make the playoffs.

Have you seen any tangible evidence these Cowboys can win seven of their last nine games? That's what I thought.

Jean-Jacques Taylor is a columnist for ESPNDallas.com.

Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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