Source: Cowboys work on deal for Ryan

Updated: January 14, 2011, 8:32 PM ET
By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys are working on a deal to make Rob Ryan the team's new defensive coordinator, according to a source.

Ryan interviewed with Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and owner/general manager Jerry Jones on Friday. While Ryan still has a year left on his deal in Cleveland, the Browns will go in a different direction under new coach Pat Shurmur.

Ryan, the twin brother of New York Jets had coach Rex Ryan, has spent the past two seasons as Cleveland's defensive coordinator after a five-year stint with the Oakland Raiders. He won two Super Bowl rings in New England as the Patriots' linebackers coach. His father, Buddy, was a longtime NFL coach and irked many Cowboys fans during his time in Philadelphia.

Cleveland had the 22nd-ranked defense in 2010, allowing 350.1 yards per game, and it was tied for 13th with 20.8 points allowed per game. The Cowboys allowed 351.8 yards and 27.3 points per game in 2010. While not tremendous numbers, the Browns defense improved nine spots in yards in 2010 and had a spike in turnovers with 19 interceptions and nine fumble recoveries.

The Cowboys are committed to the 3-4 defense, and Ryan is the third coordinator Garrett interviewed who has experience in that system. However, San Diego scooped up Greg Manusky, and San Francisco is reportedly set to keep Vic Fangio with new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Paul Pasqualoni, who closed the season as the Cowboys' coordinator, is now the head coach at UConn.

If Ryan joins the fold, the Cowboys could have him coach another position or let him serve as coordinator only. They also need a defensive line coach with Pasqualoni's departure. Dallas recently denied Houston's request to talk to linebackers coach Reggie Herring but could allow that in the future.

Todd Archer covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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