In the fading moments after his Dallas Cowboys allowed a franchise-worst 625 yards in a 49-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints, owner Jerry Jones acknowledged that firing Rob Ryan hasn't worked out as planned.
"We thought it was best for us to go in the direction that we are, and it doesn't look good right now," Jones said Sunday night, per ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon.
Ryan was let go as defensive coordinator in January in favor of Monte Kiffin, who oversees a unit that's given up 500-plus yards in four separate games this season. On Sunday night, Ryan tasted revenge behind the power of a Saints defense that choked the life out of Dallas and dropped the Cowboys to 5-5 on the season.
The injury bug has hit Dallas for a second straight season. Losing ascendant linebacker Sean Lee against New Orleans added to the woes of a team already without pass rusher Anthony Spencer (knee), defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (neck) and free safety J.J. Wilcox (knee).
"Candidly, we're having some of the same things that Rob had last year," Jones said. "Frankly, to be fair to Rob, he lost a lot of guys on defense. We lost more this year. That's the game, though. That's what we play. That's the NFL."
It all comes back to Jerry. Jones came out of last season's 8-8 campaign promising sweeping changes on both sides of the ball, and wiped Ryan off the grid in a move that some considered addition by subtraction.
Ryan's kept quiet in The Big Easy, but the coordinator's defense hasn't. The Saints -- a team riddled with injuries of its own -- have morphed into one of the league's friskiest outfits, able to rush the quarterback and close down passing lanes.
Now Jones must ponder the future of Kiffin, who's older than the wind and eons removed from his glory days in Tampa. It sure feels like more change is on the way.