On a low-key Rob Ryan, Cowboys' D-line

The Cowboys practicing on the West Coast has thrown me off. The news comes in late, and at times when blog traffic is a little slow. I'll adjust. It's what I do. But in the meantime, here's Calvin Watkins' feature at ESPNDallas.com on defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who says he's not doing any boasting this year and that he was humbled by the disappointing performance of the defense in the 2011 stretch run:

"Hell, that's my group," Ryan said. "It's on me. So it's pretty damn hard."

Ryan has to fix this because there is so much on the line for him in 2012.

He wants to become a head coach, and head coaches aren't hired unless they are successful somewhere else. If Ryan improves the defense, his stature around the league increases.

"I'm not running scared. I'm not scared of anybody. I'm ready," he said. "That's why I came to Dallas. I might not have known it was going to be this much scrutiny in the media, but, believe me, I wanted to be here with the Cowboys, America's Team. It's about time America likes a Ryan."

Love the last line for comedy/entertainment value, but the interesting part of the story to me was the part about the competition on the defensive line. Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears could be starting defensive ends or looking for work elsewhere, depending on how they and others practice and play in this preseason. Sean Lissemore, Clifton Geathers, Robert Callaway and Josh Brent are among those Calvin names who could snag those spots, and the Cowboys could use some new blood up front on defense. So much of the offseason focus was on the secondary that it's easy to forget there were some troubles in the trenches, too.