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Patriots

Cowboys Rob Ryan Relishes Another Game Against Patriots

By Stephen Hawkins, AP Sports Writer
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Dalls Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Dalls Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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New England Patriots

IRVING, Texas (AP) — New Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has a blueprint that has worked to defeat Tom Brady and the
Patriots.

That game plan Ryan used 11 months ago while with Cleveland to hold New England to 14 points might pale in comparison to what he might try to do in only his fifth game with Dallas.

“Pretty much, it’s the kitchen sink, to put it lightly,” defensive end Kenyon Coleman, who like Ryan came to Dallas from Cleveland this season. “We were probably (in Cleveland) doing a fourth of what we’re doing now. … So I don’t really think you’re going to get a good beat on what we’re doing by just looking at the Cleveland game.”

With Pro Bowl players like DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff, and leading the NFC in total defense, Coleman said the Cowboys are already doing so much more in Ryan’s system than he ever remembers doing in Cleveland the past two seasons.

So just how imaginative will Ryan be this week in a personal rematch against NFL reigning MVP Brady and the Patriots?

“I’m hoping it’d be definitely fiction,” said safety Abram Elam, another first-year Cowboys starter who came from Cleveland. “Don’t give him anything that he can look at and know what we’re in.”

Read: Welker “Proud To Be A Patriot”

New England has scored at least 30 points in all 13 of their games since that 34-14 loss to Cleveland last November.

The Cowboys haven’t defeated New England in 15 years.

OK, so there have been only three meetings in that span — the last two with Brady. They play Sunday for the first time in four years.

But the Cowboys are ready for the chance at another victory against New England, as is Ryan.

“He’s excited,” Elam said. “We’re relishing the challenge.”

Against the NFL’s best offense. The Patriots average 495 total yards a game.

The last Cowboys’ victory in the series was in 1996, the season after the Cowboys won their third Super Bowl title in four years. That was an unprecedented championship stretch that New England has since matched.

Ryan was the linebackers coach for the Patriots’ first two championships, both when Brady was Super Bowl MVP. Ryan then was defensive coordinator for five seasons in Oakland and two in Cleveland before going to the Cowboys.

Read: Patriots-Cowboys Preview

“I enjoyed the years that Rob was here. He obviously comes from a great football family,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “Football is important to him, he’s very knowledgeable, smart guy.”

New England is playing at home against one of Buddy Ryan’s twin sons for the second week in a row.

Head coach Rex Ryan and the New York Jets lost 30-21 in Foxborough last Sunday. But be sure Rob Ryan has spoken this week to his brother, and Rex is certain to provide anything he can to help the Cowboys beat his division rival.

“No comment,” Ware said, smiling as he walked away from a group of reporters. “I know the answer to that question, but I’m not going to answer.”

Rob Ryan didn’t talk to reporters Wednesday, when because of overnight rain the team moved its practice from the Valley Ranch facility to Cowboys Stadium.

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Brady has won both of his career starts against Dallas, the last four years ago when he threw for 388 yards and five touchdowns at Texas Stadium in a matchup of undefeated teams. In a 12-0 victory at home in 2003, Brady threw for 212 yards on 15 of 34 passes — the 44 percent completion percentage the third-lowest in his career when he has attempted more than 10 passes.

Against Ryan and the Browns last year, Brady was 19 of 36 for 224 yards with two touchdowns. He was sacked only once, but seemed out of sorts at times as Cleveland kept moving around and using different formations — even using only one down lineman.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said there are different aspects of what Ryan did with Cleveland that could come into play this week, but stressed that things are different.

“Certainly our defense is different than Cleveland’s defense, and I would say the 2010 Patriots are different than the 2011 Patriots,” Garrett said. “But you do go back and you watch games. … You put your plans together and hopefully they work out, and you can make some adjustments during the game. Things are different.”

Including what Ryan is doing with his players.

“Me being with Rob for 2 years and seeing what we’re doing now, even myself, I’m being asked to do things that two years with Rob I didn’t do,” Coleman said.

Read: Levan Reid’s Patriots Blog

What hasn’t changed is Ryan’s message about Brady.

Ryan knows how much time the quarterback spends studying and watching film. The coordinator keeps telling his players that they have to stay ahead of him by doing the same thing, studying film and recognizing formations to know what Brady and the Patriots will be trying to do.

“I wish I could tell you our game plan. It’s a lot of stuff going in this week,” Ware said. “We watched a lot of that Cleveland tape. …. But you have to get out there and do it.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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