Recently-hired New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was shocked to be fired by the Dallas Cowboys after the season, suggesting he was made a scapegoat for the team's failure to reach the playoffs.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones clarified this week that Ryan was dismissed for a mass defensive confusion caused by too many schemes.
"We felt like too many schemes can cause problems regardless of how good they are and how sound they are," Jones said, according to The Dallas Morning News. "If there is more than the players can digest in this day and time -- as you don't keep players for long, they move on and you have injuries."
It's a fair point. Ryan is known for mixing up concepts and deploying his personnel in creative ways. His defense worked well at full capacity, only to give way to communication breakdowns when inexperienced players were forced into the lineup. It certainly didn't help that Ryan lost five starters and two role players during the 2012 season.
While Jones maintains Ryan is "a hell of a coach," his defenses have underperformed more often than not. The Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders have gone a combined 46-98 with Ryan as their defensive coordinator.Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.