It’s beginning to seem as though Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is finally starting to get it. You knew that at some point Jones would finally see the carnage being created in his own palace and do something about it.
Former defensive coordinator Ron Ryan wasn’t fired solely because of his performance. This was more about, if that’s possible, losing complete faith in the 3-4 scheme in Dallas.
New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin represents a strong message to the rest of the NFL and especially to the NFC East. Jones is tired of getting pushed around, and it’s time to return to a more fundamental and traditional scheme for the Cowboys.
Numerous sources report former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was hired Friday by the Cowboys as their defensive line coach.
Marinelli was assistant head coach for the 2002 Tampa Buccaneers. Also serving as defensive line coach, he worked directly under Kiffin, then defensive coordinator of one of the top three defenses ever to win a Super Bowl.
Marinelli is nine years younger than Kiffin's 73 years, possibly putting the new hire in place to assume the defensive coordinator’s role after Kiffin decides to retire—which cannot be long at all.
Whenever he is available, Marinelli is one of the most sought-after assistants in the NFL. As a defensive line specialist, his long-term influence will be key in helping current players switch back to a scheme most haven’t seen since college. This could take anywhere from one to eight years, depending on the player.
The Cowboys happen to have numerous needs on the defensive line, either because of age or production, and a different type of lineman will begin to emerge. Until then, Dallas has bodies that can fill gaps. DeMarcus Ware is expected to move up to defensive end, the position he played at Troy.
Jones wants defense to become not only a tradition, but a strength once again.
Offense wins games, defense wins championships.
That tired old saying just becomes more classic. It remains true, and for too long the Cowboys have been almost completely irrelevant on defense.
Locking up Marinelli is a great call—and I don’t give Jones props too often.