IRVING, Texas --For the second time this season, Rob Ryan says he'll have family members watching him coach in the Meadowlands. The first was the Sept. 11 opener, his Cowboys debut against twin brother Rex's Jets.
Sunday against the Giants, Ryan believes they'll see him win his first division title as a defensive coordinator.
"I want them to be there when we win the East. And I'll probably steal a couple T-shirts and make sure they get them," Ryan said. "Because that's what we're there for. If it doesn't work out, I'll be pissed off because everything we've got is in this one."
Ryan has full confidence that his unit will perform better than the previous meeting against New York three weeks ago, when the Giants tallied a season-high 510 total yards and 37 points in a comeback win over the Cowboys.
It was one of two games this season that utterly disappointed Ryan from an execution standpoint. He also was furious about the first half last Saturday against the Eagles, in which the defense allowed 284 yards. The second half was much better: 102 yards yielded.
"That's who we are," Ryan said. "When we execute, we can play really good football. That's all we have to do. Keep in mind you have to stop all their talented guys and they've got a lot of them."
Ryan said one key is better communication in two-minute situations, like the Giants' late winning drive Dec. 11 at Cowboys Stadium.
The Cowboys rank 12th in scoring defense (23.7) and 14th in total defense (336.9), both improvements from last season. But they can't afford breakdowns against quarterback Eli Manning, who avoided a sack in 47 pass attempts last time.
"I've heard every kind of word describing our defense, "atrocious," stuff like that. I'm gonna pretend it doesn't bother me," Ryan said. "In that last Giants game, those are accurate descriptions of us. But we have a body of work here. The last eight weeks of the season, we're fifth in the league in scoring defense. Things are going well for us. We've got great players and great coaches and a great system.
"Have we had our moments of bad ones? Hell yeah we have. But we've also been great. And we're gonna be great this week."