|Rob Ryan's stock took a hit with Dallas' recent performance. (Getty Images)|
By Ryan Wilson
After the way the Cowboys (and the Cowboys defense, in particular) played Sunday night against the Giants, it would be fair to say that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan didn't do much to boost his stock as head-coaching material in 2012.
When the Jaguars fired Jack Del Rio in November, Ryan made our early list of possible replacements. But in the five weeks since, the Cowboys have gone 1-4, including three NFC East losses as well as the debacle in the valley of the sun. The losses weren't entirely his fault, but it's not like the defense played lights-out, either.
According to Football Outsiders' metrics, Dallas' defense ranked 16th overall (19th against the pass, 8th against the run). It's the definition of mediocrity, but given Ryan's pedigree -- not to mention his loquaciousness -- it's wholly underwhelming. And it's why we'd expect teams in need of a head coach to look elsewhere. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if Ryan was relieved of his duties in Dallas, although that doesn't look like it'll happen (he signed a multi-year deal last season).
On Monday, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett (his job's safe too, says owner Jerry Jones) was asked about the possibility of Ryan landing a head-coaching gig.
"Well, if Rob has an opportunity to go be a head coach somewhere, I think that’s a great thing for Rob, and we certainly would encourage that," Garrett said via ESPNDallas.com.
You almost get the impression that Garrett would welcome the opportunity to fill Ryan's job.
"I think he’s worthy of being a head coach in this league," he continued. "I think he does an outstanding job as a coordinator, he’s an excellent leader, he’s an excellent coach, and we would encourage that for him. I think it’s a great opportunity for him. I think that’s part of the process. You allow for that to happen if that opportunity does exist, and then we would have to obviously replace him and make some decisions of our own. But, we certainly love having him as our coordinator, and we’re excited about our opportunity to grow in that area for next year."
ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins adds that if Ryan somehow manages to land a job as an NFL head coach, "linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, whom Ryan called his right-hand man, could get elevated to coordinator. Eberflus could also leave to become Ryan's defensive coordinator/assistant head coach should he get a head coaching position."
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