The list of happy people at the end of Sunday's divisional playoff round is long and consists mainly of people in New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Green Bay. Somewhere further down the list, but still on the decidedly happy side of the fence are Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones.
They have Rex Ryan to thank for their happiness and not because they laid some sweet action on the Jets to beat the spread. Nor is it because he has made it okay for a coach in the NFL to do something other than spout generic emptiness whenever he finds himself in front of a microphone. We love that about the Ryans and love that about Rob's arrival in Dallas, but there's a bigger reason to enjoy what Rex and the Jets pulled off this weekend.
The job he did dismantling the Patriots makes them look like geniuses for securing Rex's twin brother Rob Ryan as their defensive coordinator earlier in the weekend. The 28-21 Jets win would certainly have made him a hotter candidate. That seems a bit silly on the surface, but the NFL is a copycat league and there's no easier way to copy what works than by hiring a guy's brother.
Rex Ryan's abilities as a coach aren't the same thing as a likelihood of developing Parkinson's. They aren't part of his genetic material, they are learned traits that have been honed over time and only come to the forefront with the help of a talented roster and a strong core of assistant coaches. Rob Ryan's own coaching skills are unique, much in the same way that Eli Manning's last name doesn't make him the equal of Peyton.
Still, they have shown many of the same tendencies over the years, be it in their fondness for fatty foods, big talking or blitzing opposing quarterbacks. Those impulses have sometimes gotten in the way of great success for the brothers, which is why Sunday's result has to generate some serious optimism about the new guy running the Cowboys defense.
Rex has now designed game plans that nullified the two best quarterbacks in the NFL over the last two weeks. That's less surprising than the fact that those schemes ran counter to everything that the Ryan family has been about over the years. He didn't blitz like crazy, didn't attack at every opportunity and made Manning and Tom Brady totally uncomfortable as a result.
The bluster and the bravado of the Ryan brothers has been well known over the years. Over the last eight days we've seen a level of brains that was previously hard to find. The Cowboys hope their Ryan has the same untapped depths to his game, because that's going to help Dallas get where the Jets have been hanging out for the last two seasons.
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