The biggest moves the Cowboys made this off-season took place in a span of four days in January. First there was ouster of Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator. Then there was the hiring of Monte Kiffin as Ryan’s replacement.

More than a month after the organization tossed Ryan to the curb and brought Kiffin into the fold, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the change that was made was a “tough decision.”

But he also added it was made with long-term considerations in mind.

“I think Rob is a very smart guy,” Jones said. “His schemes are very sound. There are a lot of schemes. That becomes a question. We made a tough decision. We felt like too many schemes can cause problems regardless of how good they are and how sound they are. If there is more than the players can digest in this day and time – as you don’t keep players for long, they move on and you have injuries – you just had to make a decision. And we made a tough one.”

Jones’ comment came after he was asked if the simplicity of Kiffin’s 4-3 scheme was an attractive selling point when they contemplated hiring him.

Jones responded by saying, “That obviously is important to us.”

Ryan was known for implementing a system that mixed and matched concepts. He also also gained recognition for arranging personnel in unique ways. According to, the Cowboys used 29 defensive formations in 2011 – Ryan’s first season with the Cowboys. That year, communication breakdowns occurred repeatedly season and there was confusion not only on the field but also the sidelines, where substitutions would be botched occasionally.

After a December 2011 loss to the New York Giants, in which Dallas surrendered 400 passing yards, cornerback Mike Jenkins vented his frustration.

“If you look at the film, we’re all not on the same page,” he said then. “We’re all looking at each other with our heads chopped off. Once we get that together, we’re going to be all right.”