Defense rests on Rob Ryan's shoulders

OXNARD, Calif. -- This is the season we find out whether the Dallas Cowboys' Rob Ryan should be considered among the NFL's best defensive coordinators or whether he's been living off the reputation of his daddy and his brother.

Buddy Ryan, the architect of the 1985 Chicago Bears' defense -- one of the best in NFL history -- created the 46 defense. You can't discuss the history of the NFL without mentioning his name.

And New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is widely considered one of the best defensive minds in the game based on his work with the Baltimore Ravens and the Jets.

Rob Ryan certainly has their bluster. And swag. And oratory skills. He can only wish he had their resume.

In eight seasons as a defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns and Cowboys, Ryan has had one unit -- the 2006 Raiders -- finish among the NFL's top 10. The rest have ranked between 14th and 31st in yards allowed. None of his defenses has ever allowed less than 20.8 points.

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