It wasn't long after he was hired as Cowboys defensive coordinator that the possibility of him leaving for a head coaching job came up. Ryan is not shy in admitting he'd like the chance to follow in the footsteps of his father and brother.
As he says, it's only a matter of time. The question now is, has that time come?
There are currently five job openings around the league: Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Kansas City. Ryan has yet to be formally linked as a possibility for any of the jobs, but the interview process will soon pick up for each team in need of a new coach.
As for Ryan's credentials, the man who hired him in Dallas believes he is ready, and would support his chances.
"If Rob has an opportunity to go be a head coach somewhere, I think that's a great thing for Rob," Jason Garrett said. "I think he's worthy of being a head coach in this league. I think he does an outstanding job as coordinator, he's an excellent leader, he's an excellent coach, and we would encourage that for him."
If Ryan were indeed hired, it's possible he would want to bring any number of Cowboys assistants with him, but the team could block its position coaches from leaving for anything lower than a head coaching job. Still, it would create the need for some adjustments.
"I think that's part of the process," Garrett said. "You allow for that to happen if that opportunity does exist, and then we would have to obviously replace him and make some decisions of our own. But, we certainly love have him as our coordinator, and we're excited about our opportunity to grow in that area for next year."
In Ryan's first year running the Cowboys defense, the team improved from 23rd to 14th in yards allowed and 31st to 16th in points allowed.