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Ratliff: Under Ryan, Cowboys' Defense "Unpredictable"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Cowboys fans in San Antonio have already gotten a small taste of Rob Ryan’s defense, which will involve a lot of moving parts and, according to players, more excitement than an episode of “The A-Team.” Okay, they haven’t said that exactly--it just wouldn’t really surprise us if they did.

    "We're unpredictable," said nose tackle Jay Ratliff this week, per ESPN Dallas. "We're coming from different positions and I'm a nose lining up at linebacker, and that's fun."

    What will add to the intrigue is the team’s situation at defensive end. Marcus Spears, Kenyon Coleman and Jason Hatcher, all of whom signed new deals this offseason, are waiting to return to the practice field. Igor Olshansky, who started last year opposite of Spears, has returned as well. How exactly they will fit into Ryan’s system is unknown--but, keeping with a theme, it should be interesting.

    "We will put the best players out there every Sunday," new defensive line coach Brian Baker said. "I don't know what those numbers are going to be."

    The team is once again high on the abilities of Spears, after the relationship between the two became seemingly tenuous over the past two seasons--which was probably less about Spears’ play and more about finances and the presence of Hatcher and Stephen Bowen, the latter of which departed this offseason for Washington. Under Ryan and Baker, Spears could strengthen his footing as a bonafide run-stopper in Dallas.

    "I think Spears will have a chance to elevate his game," Baker said. "He's got some wiggle."

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