Simpler scheme played role in move to 4-3

February, 13, 2013
2/13/13
4:36
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – With all the injuries the Cowboys had in 2012 on the defensive side of the ball, it seemed like Rob Ryan had to re-teach his scheme to a new player every week.

The Cowboys lost Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Kenyon Coleman, Jay Ratliff and Orlando Scandrick, as well as Josh Brent to injured reserve or the non-football injury list, forcing the team to find street free agents like Ernie Sims, Brady Poppinga, Brian Schaefering and Charlie Peprah and poach Sterling Moore off New England’s practice squad.

It was taxing and difficult, considering the supposed complexities of Ryan’s schemes.

Part of the desire to add Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator and move to the 4-3 was the supposed simplistic nature of the scheme.

“In this day and age in the NFL, with shortened offseasons, shortened training camps, injuries, all those kinds of things, it’s important to try and put offensive and defensive systems in place that allow you to deal with the schedule and absorb the injuries that very well could happen,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “That was one of the philosophical advantages of playing this 4-3 defense. We think it can be a simpler defense for us, for guys to come in here and learn in this day and age, and also if you have the injuries to absorb it allows you to maybe do that a little bit better.”

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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