Monte Kiffin will bring a new face and scheme to the Dallas Cowboys.
The 72-year-old defensive mastermind will replace Rob Ryan as the defensive coordinator in Big D in 2013.
Source: Monte Kiffin has reached agreement with the Dallas Cowboys to be their defensive coordinator. #cowboys— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) January 11, 2013
The Cowboys are moving to a 4-3 alignment under DC Monte Kiffin, something common among all their Super Bowl championship teams.— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) January 11, 2013
This is a phenomenal move for Dallas.
According to Tim McMahon of ESPN, Larry Lacewell, a longtime scout and current member of Jerry Jones' unofficial advisory committee, said, “Frankly, I think it’s the best hire the Cowboys have ever made. Well, other than Jimmy [Johnson].”
Kiffin is one of the greatest defensive minds in the history of the sport. He turned the Tampa Cover 2 scheme into a league-wide trend.
As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator from 1996-2008, Kiffin was essential in transforming the franchise from a perennial laughingstock to a consistent playoff contender. His defense, led by the likes of Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch—one of the most dominant stop units in NFL history—carried the Bucs to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII.
It may take time for the Cowboys defense to sniff that level of success. DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer are 3-4 rush linebacker studs. But in Kiffin’s scheme, they’ll either need to play more coverage or put their hand on the ground as defensive ends.
As a unit, though, Dallas’ defense should be able to improve from day one, especially considering that it surrendered the 24th-most points in the league this past season.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.