Cowboys switch up defense to face Jets

That game plan that Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had created to stop the Jets offense this Sunday night — throw it out the window.

When the Jets signed former Dallas safety
Andrew Sendejo to their practice squad, the Cowboys coaching staff was forced to make major
adjustments to their game plan. The bit of gamesmanship from the Jets has become somewhat commonplace for New York. It’s certainly affording head coach Rex Ryan and the coaching staff the chance to pick Sendejo’s brain. While Ryan says that the Jets didn’t bring the player in just to pick his brain — “he has a lot of traits we like” — it is enough to switch things up in Dallas.

And for Rob Ryan, the twin brother of Rex Ryan, it means going back to the drawing board.

“He ended up switching a lot of that stuff up, so I thought that was pretty interesting when I was watching the defensive side of the ball here this week,” Dallas quarterback Tony Romo said. “I’ve never seen that before, so I think there is a little cat-and-mouse game there, for sure.”

Whatever the scheme is, one thing is certain — the Cowboys will come out flying against the Jets. This will be the Cowboys’ defense first regular-season game under their new coordinator, who overachieved the past two seasons in making the Browns’ defense respectable despite inferior talent.

“He’ll bring a lot of corner pressures, he’ll do a lot of stuff [that he learned] under [Bill] Belichick’s tutelage,” Rex Ryan said.

In Week 10 of last season the Jets defeated Cleveland 26-20 in overtime, but found some difficulties, particularly on the ground. The Jets’ featured backfield — Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson — averaged just 3.39 yards per carry and had one touchdown.

But as worried as the Jets might be about the Dallas defense and the new wrinkles they may now face, the Cowboys have their own concerns on defense.

“They’ve got a whole all-star squad over there. You can’t understate the challenge,” Rob Ryan said. “It’s obviously a huge one and we’re looking forward to it.”

As for Sendejo, well, the Jets stand by the fact that they feel they’ve brought in a player who can contribute right away. Last year, Sendejo was signed to the practice squad in Dallas on Nov. 24 and was on the active roster five days later.

“He’s a smart kid, not just as a safety, but we’re looking at him more as a special teams contributor than he would be as a safety,” Ryan said. “But we think he has that kind of ability, but we’re excited to see him and we’ll probably play him this week on special teams.”

Follow beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for Jets news the moment it happens all season long.


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