The 2012 edition of Rob Ryan's defense has been at once everything and nothing that we have expected. We've had some disappointing (injured) starters and some impressive depth. A fairly sound pass coverage but an unexpected scarcity of press coverage. An as-advertised effective pass rush, but an unexpected lack of blitzes. We've seen the results we've expected but they've come about in unexpected ways.
What ever happened to that ferocious defense Rob Ryan has been promising us? Through 11 games, we've likely seen most of what this defense has to offer, and I can't say it at all resembles what I was expecting - at least from a schematic point of view.
As we spent last summer charting the Cowboys' offseason moves, transcribing press conferences and watching practices, we felt we knew what this defense would try to be this year. We saw Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne as direct indicators that we would be running a pressure defense, at least in the secondary. Drafting Tyron Crawford and Kyle Wilber showed some continued commitment to 3-4 pass-rush players. The promotion of Barry Church seemed to signify the coming of safety blitzes and one-deep coverages, and the faith in Bruce Carter stepping up seemed to show a desire for 'multiplicity.'
Remember that term? Multiplicity was supposed to be the identity of this defense. Primarily based on the assumption that our corners could lock down any receiving corps one-on-one, we believed we would be able to alternate any player between pass rush and zone coverage, confusing opposing offenses and filling highlight reels with splash plays. That's not what we've seen.