Rob Ryan fired as Cowboys' defensive coordinator

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by GEORGE RIBA and JOE TRAHAN

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WFAA

Posted on January 8, 2013 at 8:20 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 9 at 4:00 AM

Poll:
Do you think Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett should follow Rob Ryan out the door?

IRVING — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones promised changes last week, and on Tuesday he made a big one.

WFAA has confirmed that Jones fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, ending a two-year stay on the Dallas sidelines.

"At this time, the decision has been made to move forward in a different direction philosophically on defense," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said in a statement. "I have an immense amount of respect for Rob as a person and as a football coach."

Ryan's defense was ranked 14th in total yards allowed last year and dropped to 19th this season after his unit was riddled with injuries. He was let go one day after running backs coach Skip Peete lost his job with America's Team.

"I enjoyed my time in Dallas and appreciate all the great effort my players gave," Ryan told WFAA Sports via text from a vacation spot in the Caribbean. "No sour grapes, looking forward to my next challenge."

Several Dallas players reacted with surprise on Twitter.

"It was a privilege to play under Coach Rob Ryan! One of the greatest," defensive end Jason Hatcher wrote. "Sad day. I'm hurting right now."

The Cowboys had 38 games missed by defensive starters during the season, a huge number that the defense simply could not overcome.

Under Ryan's colorful leadership, the Cowboys gave up the ninth-most points in the league this season, averaging 25 points per game.

Dallas was his fourth NFL coaching position. Ryan served as defensive coordinator in Cleveland in 2009-10 and in Oakland from 2004-08.

Before that, he was the linebackers coach in New England from 2000-03.

Ryan's tenure in Dallas lasted from 2011-12.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com and jtrahan@wfaa.com

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