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Rob Ryan says Cowboys' D was 'beaten down'

Rob Ryan's constant chatter last season would have bordered on entertaining if he'd backed any of it up.

After telling us the Dallas Cowboys had the NFL's most talented defense, it was discovered almost immediately they possessed nothing close.

Ryan's bluster was ultimately a distraction. Entering his second season as the Cowboys' defensive coordinator, he paused this week to explain his tendency for hyperbole.

"Those guys had been beaten down so much that, in my opinion, I don't think they had the confidence to go forward," Ryan told Tim MacMahon of

It's an indirect shot at Wade Phillips after the Cowboys allowed the most points in franchise history in 2010. Ryan tightened the floodgates last season (they finished 16th in points allowed), but his sometimes overly complicated scheme asked a lot of players, and we saw them struggle too often.

Ryan isn't taking back any of his words. He still believes last year's Cowboys oozed talent -- "I don't know, it's a hell of a lot better than what I had in Cleveland," Ryan said.

The team has focused on adding quality defenders this offseason, especially at cornerback, but another 17 weeks of off-the-handle promises won't fly in Dallas. Like his brother in Florham Park, we need to see more, and hear less, in 2012.

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