Ian Rapoport | Tags:
If you look at the stats from the Cowboys last game at Seattle, it was ugly. Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards on 26 carries, and the real damage was done in the second half. The Cowboys defense, one hit by a bunch of injuries, allowed two bruising touchdown drives to clinch defeat.
It led some locally to view them as being bullied, and watching the game, one could easily draw that conclusion. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan understands that inclination. He just doesn’t agree with it.
“People are going to say that,” Ryan said, speaking with reporters today. “When you look at the stats, it’s 185 yards rushing, so obviously, anybody can stake their claim to that’s what happened. They averaged 2.2 yards per carry when we had our full group out there. We lost two D-linemen, we lost our outside backer, we lost our inside backer, we lost two safeties, and I really don’t care who you are. When that happens, you gotta play sound and when we’re not sound, people are going to expose you. Lynch is a hell of a runner, he got over 100 yards on us last year and you give the guy the ball that many times, he’ll crack one or two on you. But I don’t think they pushed us around, I know they didn’t.”
Ryan took some blame himself, saying the zone pressure he called on a stretch run that went for 36 yards wasn’t smart. Neither was how the team compounded it by allowing a long TD catch right afterward. This week, they are hoping for something different.
“We’re looking forward to playing this week,” Ryan said. “We know how to play the game right. And we can’t wait to get after these guys … If you’re going to have success running the ball — we went into the game thinking they’ll try to run the ball 40-50 times. They ran it 41 times at us. So, but we have to stop ‘em. We can get them in situations where they’re playing more our style. Until we do that, they had a big lead and it was easy for them to execute.“
That’s the issue this week. Don’t let Tampa get out to a big lead. If they do, look out. With injuries up front, they’ll be tough to stop. Gotta make sure they are two-dimensional.
“(Tampa) has an excellent back, he’s a spinner, he’s a powerful young guy, he plays real hard, but we’re ready for it,” Ryan continued. “We know what they are, who they are, we know where they are, who they are, where they came from with their coaching staff. they know we’re going to be prepared on defense.“
Not having DeMarcus Ware healthy doesn’t help, and Ryan said he’s still battling that hamstring. But it should be better this week. Mostly, it was the fact that Seattle ran it 40 times that stung. This week, with a closer score (they hope), Ryan will mix it up. He believes the team will be on the same page when it comes to blitzing, too.
“I don’t think everybody was on the same page with communication and things like that (last year),” Ryan said. “I don’t think I gambled too much. When we did put extra pressure, did we get beat? Sure. You know what, we will pressure their quarterback. We do change it up, we do play more three-man front to go along with it, so the quarterback doesn’t know we’re a blitz-athon like every junior varsity or high school team. We’re not doing that. We’re going to play the efficient way. We prefer efficiency over stupidity. And we’re going to play it right. I think we’re the fifth-leading team with sacking the quarterback per passing attempt. We’re always up there because we do have great pressures. We do know when to pressure, we know how to pressure, and that’s what you see with us. Did you see it last week? No.”