Thursday, October 13, 2011
Cowboys defense bringing 'kitchen sink'
By Tim MacMahon
IRVING, Texas -- Tom Brady's team hasn't been held to less than 30 points in the regular season since the last time Rob Ryan had a bye week to prepare for the New England Patriots.
Ryan, the Dallas Cowboys' first-year defensive coordinator, eagerly anticipates the challenge of trying to duplicate the success his Cleveland Browns had against Brady and Co. in a stunning 30-14 win for Cleveland in Week 9 of last season.
That doesn't necessarily mean the Browns provided the blueprint for beating Brady. The Cowboys are studying the film from that game, but they can't just expect to confuse Brady by using the same unorthodox looks and dialing up the same exotic blitzes.
But make no mistake, the Cowboys' defense is throwing the proverbial "kitchen sink" into their game plan for Sunday's game.
Defensive end Kenyon Coleman, one of two Dallas defensive starters Ryan recruited from Cleveland, said the Cowboys are "doing way more" from a scheme standpoint than the Browns did last season. Prepare to see plenty of Ryan's most creative packages Sunday afternoon.
"I would say pretty much it's the kitchen sink, to put it lightly," Coleman said of the Cowboys' plans.
"We have to," outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware said of getting in Brady's face. "We have to get some pressure on him because the teams that have had success on them have been able to get pressure on him up front."
The element of surprise won't be as much of an advantage for the Cowboys as it was for the Browns against Brady's Patriots a year ago.
"That same film that we're watching, Tom Brady's watching," cornerback Orlando Scandrick said. "He's not going to let you do the same things."
That's true from a scheme standpoint. A challenge for Ryan is to try to duplicate some of the things that bothered Brady last year while disguising the blitzes and coverages differently.
It's even truer from a perception standpoint. The Browns were 2-5 when they played New England last season, perhaps causing the Patriots to overlook Cleveland a little. That won't happen with Ryan bringing the NFL's second-ranked defense to Foxboro.
"The bottom line is when we played them last year, it wasn't like we were rolling," Coleman said. "However they perceived us in Cleveland, I don't know. We just have to realize we are going to get their A effort this year."
The Cowboys believe they'll be ready. They know their defensive coordinator will be.
"Anybody who knows Rob," safety Abram Elam, also imported from Cleveland, said, "knows he's relishing this game."
Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.