The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

My take on the Rob Ryan firing

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I posted a couple articles on Rob Ryan’s firing at Dallas News and NBC. The central idea to both articles is that we can’t really judge the firing until we see who Dallas brings in to replace him. Whether Ryan “deserved” to be fired or not doesn’t really matter if there’s a better person out there for the job.

At NBC, I took a look at some of Ryan’s ranks in his two-year stay in Dallas.

When we look at the stats posted by the Rob Ryan-led Cowboys defense over the past two seasons, we see that he was actually slightly worse than the traditional stats indicate.

8. Rushing Yards (Rank)

  • 2011: 7, 2012: 22

7. Passing Yards

  • 2011: 23, 2012: 19

6. YPC

  • 2011: 12, 2012: 26

5. Scoring

  • 2011: 16, 2012: 24

4. Rushing Success Rate

  • 2011: 17, 2012: 17

3. Sack Rate

  • 2011: 9, 2012: 17

2. Predicted Sack Differential

  • 2011: +5, 2012: -5

1. Net-YPA

  • 2011: 23, 2012: 25

Above, I listed eight stats, starting with the least predictive. Those at the top are generally used to rank defenses, but they’re usually very poor indicators of future success. On the other hand, stats like net-YPA allowed and sack rate are better indicators of how defenses will perform moving forward.

Check out the full article.

And at Dallas News, I elaborated on the idea that Ryan’s firing can’t be assessed just yet.

After any unexpected firing, the question of whether or not an NFL coach deserved to be let go always pops up. Usually, those inquiries ignore the real issue at hand: was he the best man for the job? Whether or not Rob Ryan “deserved” to be fired from the Cowboys is irrelevant if there is a defensive coordinator out there who could potentially perform better than Ryan did in his two years in Dallas.

Of course, the issue is complicated by two things:

1) As Rainer Sabin pointed out, it’s difficult to determine which stats we should consider when assessing Ryan.

2) How much did the rash of injuries affect our ability to accurately predict the future of the Dallas defense under Ryan?

Regarding the latter question, I claimed just a few days ago that Ryan should be back in Dallas. It’s difficult to succeed when you lose one key player on a unit. When you’re forced to play 36 different people on defense in one season, all bets are off.

See more at DMN.

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