- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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"Oh yeah, look, I was a little shocked," Ryan said after watching the Dallas Mavericks play the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. "I knew they had to do something after an 8-8 season. They choose me to be the guy, sure."
Ryan's defense endured season-ending injuries to five starters and to primary slot corner Orlando Scandrick. Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware played with a slight fracture in his right wrist, a hyperextended elbow and a torn labrum that was surgically repaired after the season.
Yet, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones noted after the season the team needed to overcome some of these injuries like other teams.
"Better coaches, than me have been fired," Ryan said. "Just not many."
Ryan praised the work of his defense, which finished 19th overall.
However, it wasn't good enough in the eyes of coach Jason Garrett and Jones. The two pulled the trigger on Ryan a few days after the season ended and decided to switch to a 4-3 scheme with new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
"Who knows what they're going to do," said Ryan, who wore a Mavericks hat and signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans after the game was over. "I'm good with whatever. I'm going to miss the players, they gave me great effort and they played hard. It's unfortunate we got a little banged up, but I appreciate the great effort they gave me for two years. [I] loved working with Jason and those guys. I wish them the best except against us."