Rob Ryan looking ahead

We found out Tuesday that Rob Ryan would not be talking over as Jeff Fisher's defensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams after all. According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it was Ryan who decided to pull the plug on the pairing, because he "had misgivings about coaching a 4-3 scheme without any defensive assistants of his hiring on the Rams’ staff."

The real fear for Ryan was that a failure to succeed in this situation could limit his options in the future.

"The twin issues of walking into a situation in which no members of the defensive staff were his hires, as well as attempting to coach a 4-3 defense in St. Louis may have been deal-breakers," wrote Thomas. "At this stage of his coaching career, the 50-year-old Ryan wondered if he’d get another chance to work as a coordinator in the league if things didn't work out in St. Louis. He had time left on his contract when recently fired by Dallas, so he still gets paid by the Cowboys if he doesn't land another job for the 2013 season."

ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins wonders if Ryan's long-term prospects as a DC would benefit from taking a step back to tweak his coaching skills:

Calvin Watkins

Did defensive slips hurt Rob Ryan's prospects?

"Maybe Ryan needs to return as a position coach to re-evaluate his mistakes or how he runs his schemes. There were times we thought he was being too cute -- sometimes there were 12 men on the field; once there were nine. Ryan picked up a bad penalty in Cincinnati, too. Ryan is a good coach. Maybe a year away from the game or taking on a lesser role with another team might help him in the future."