"We're going to be a great defense. If I never said that, if I didn't believe that, then you've got the wrong guy. But the right guy is standing here in front of you. ... It's going to be great. The proof is in the pudding. Anybody can talk the talk, but I can walk it."
Rob Ryan in November:
"We're not playing good defense, and it's only because of the red zone. If we get that cleaned up, we'll have a great defense. It's been disappointing."
It's hard to understand what the Cowboys defensive coordinator means by "great" anymore. Certainly he's not talking about the NFL's 12th-ranked defense being a tweak away, right?
"Last week, we had a quarterback draw, and everybody in the building knew it was a quarterback draw, and we didn't execute how we wanted to stop that play," Ryan told The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday. "That's embarrassing."
Result: 'Skins touchdown. Also: Ryan bubbling over on the sideline, his glowing Shakespearian haircut bouncing to and fro in a frantic haze.
Said Ryan: "We have to do better than that."
Ten games into his first season in Dallas, it was a riff absent of wild boasts. No delusions of grandeur. No Rex-type jabs. No radioactive bulletin-board fodder to galvanize Sunday's enemy.
This new Rob Ryan disturbs us.