Rob Ryan: D played well enough to be 9-1, 10-0

Fired Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who got the bad news from Jason Garrett while vacationing in Turks and Caicos, doesn’t need any sympathy.

“I’ll be out of work for like five minutes,” Ryan said.

It’s not Ryan’s style to complain about being out of work right now. As he said, if the Cowboys go 8-8 two straight years, there should be people fired.

Ryan doesn’t hesitate, however, to proclaim that his defense gave the Cowboys a chance to be a heck of a lot better than 8-8 before injuries ravaged his defense.

“When you play that way for the first 10 games, you’re supposed to be 9-1 and or 10-0,” Ryan said. “We were 5-5.”

The Cowboys had a top-10 defense after 10 games. They finished 19th overall, struggling down the stretch while playing without five starters, including blossoming star inside linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter and four-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff, plus two key reserves. And perennial Pro Bowl outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware was a shell of himself down the stretch, playing despite needing surgeries on his right shoulder and elbow.

Owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett stressed throughout the season that injuries are no excuse. That point was hammered home Tuesday when the axe swung on Ryan.

“No sour grapes,” Ryan said, but he is “damn proud” of the job he did after the last two seasons after inheriting the NFL 31st-ranked defense and the players he helped develop.

“When we weren’t short-handed, we were kicking ass,” Ryan said. “We weren’t at full strength ever, but we were pretty damn close and pretty damn good. We were a long way from 31st. If I’m fired on the last six games, that’s OK.

“I did a good job. I know it. If anybody thinks I didn’t, they’re full of (expletive).”