Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/9/13
The pain of a 28-18 season-ending loss and a very average 8-8 season still a fresh wound, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said three days after the disappointment in Washington that things were going to get "very uncomfortable" at Valley Ranch over the next few weeks.The news Monday of the firing of running backs coach Skip Peete stunned nobody and hardly registered on the "uncomfortable" Richter scale.Tuesday's sudden firing of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan on the other hand?It's a start. And a good move. For all of Ryan's chest-puffing and camera time, he failed to live up to expectations during his two years in Dallas. "I've been an assistant coach of the year in pro football and in college football, so apparently I'm pretty good," Ryan told The New York Times in 2001 days before the Cowboys season opener that year against Rob's twin brother Rex and the New York Jets. "No one else believes it, but they will after this game.""This game" ended with a 27-24 loss that most remember for another fourth quarter blunder by quarterback Tony Romo, who tossed a pick to Darrelle Revis with the score tied in the final minutes. But Rob Ryan's defense also surrendered 335 yards passing and two touchdowns to Mark Sanchez.Yes, Mark Sanchez. Soon-to-be-former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.The 2011 defense ranked in the middle of the NFL pack in most defensive categories; its weakness being the secondary, which ranked 23rd in passing yards given up and 26th in first downs given up by passing. Hardly "pretty good."The Cowboys addressed the secondary needs big in 2012 with the free agent signing of cornerback Brandon Carr and by moving up in the Draft to take LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne sixth overall. The secondary improved statistically, but Ryan's defense took a step back in 2012, ranking 24th in points allowed, 19th in total yards allowed and 25th in net yards allowed per pass attempt. It also ranked dead last in the league in interceptions (7) and 22nd in rushing yards allowed.Certainly, injuries were a factor. Dallas lost two potential All-Pros in Sean Lee and Bruce Carter. He lost Pro Bowler Jay Ratliff at nose tackle and had to go three-deep when Josh Brent's season ended with a car accident that killed practice team linebacker Jerry Brown. Barry Church and Orlando Scandrick. Kenyon Coleman.Ryan made due with used car salesmen and guys looking for a job in the final weeks, and two bombs against the Redskins on Thanksgiving day and Saints before Christmas aside, did a commendable job.And Ryan's two-year track record in Dallas might have been enough to earn a third year if Dallas wasn't entering 2013 with "change" in mind.Jerry Jones (the GM) isn't going anywhere. Head coach Jason Garrett isn't going anywhere (he deserves a third year). You're not going to toss Tony Romo aside for a rookie or free agent. Aside from Doug Free, Ratliff and perhaps Miles Austin and Anthony Spencer, all the big names are expected to and should return to the Cowboys in 2013.Dallas won't break from this 8-8 rut with all the same pieces in place. Bring in a Lovie Smith to re-implement the 4-3, or look Romeo Crennel's way if you want to stick with the 3-4. Or go to the college level and grab Alabama's Kevin Steele or LSU's John Chavis (you seen this guy?). The talent's there on defense. A little change can only help this underachieving bunch.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cubs trade for Chapman a risk, but potential payoff too hard to ignore

White Sox fan wears a fantastic taped-up Chris Sale jersey

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Eagles want Carson Wentz to be 'starter ready' Week 1

Report: 49ers concerned Anthony Davis will quit again

Did Manning hurt NFLPA's case in HGH investigations?

Report: Steinbrenner won't allow fire sale, wants to make playoffs

Report: Dion Waiters agrees to one-year deal with Heat

Dion Waiters' deal signals the end of the 2016 money grab

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

Kevin Durant’s OKC restaurant will be closed, rebranded

Lamar Odom said to be held back by one 'toxic friend'

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

Michael Vick: I used to feel I was 'dominating too much'

WATCH: Astros, Rangers minor leaguers get into brawl

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker