Rob Ryan not totally at fault

This is not being written to defend Rob Ryan, who was released as Cowboys defensive coordinator Tuesday evening. But Ryan tried to manage a defense that was missing five starters, including nose tackle Jay Ratliff, a man expected to slow down opponents' running games.

Ryan also lost two backups, Orlando Scandrick to injury and Josh Brent because of his arrest. The players signed to replace the injured might have hurt Ryan more than anything else.

It's hard to get excited when you have Ernie Sims, Charlie Peprah, Michael Coe and Eric Frampton on the field trying to make plays for you with the season on the line.

However, the personnel department did a nice job finding players to fill the defensive side of the roster.

Peprah and Sims were the better of the signings because they were able to pick up a small portion of the defensive scheme and Ryan placed them in position to make plays.

Where Ryan failed in some ways is with what he did or didn't do with his scheme. He didn't blitz enough, and his players didn't create enough turnovers.

You can't blame the personnel department for that. You blame Ryan and the players.

When a team finishes 8-8 and misses the playoffs for the third consecutive season, change needs to happen. Jerry Jones, and maybe even Jason Garrett, wanted to give their defensive players a different voice than Ryan's. In the coming days we'll find out who that will be.