When another disappointing Dallas Cowboys season came to an end back on Dec. 29, we had a pretty good idea owner Jerry Jones was going to stick with head coach Jason Garrett for at least one more year. But the assumption most of us were making was that 73-year-old defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin would be fired.
It felt like a foregone conclusion. As much as injuries crippled that Dallas defense, Kiffin's outdated Tampa 2 scheme didn't work, and the D gave up almost 300 more yards than the next-worst unit in the league. They were terrible from start to finish, and Kiffin was supposed to take the fall.
Now here we are, 17 days later, and Kiffin is still employed by the Cowboys. The majority of the head coach and coordinator positions have been filled league-wide, which means that if Jones were to fire Kiffin now, the market for his replacement would be quite limited. There's been no official announcement, but that probably means the Cowboys are standing pat for 2014.
And that's unbelievable. Because when you give up the third-highest yardage total in NFL history, you have to make changes at the top.
|Most yards allowed, NFL history|
|New Orleans Saints||2012||7042||7-9|
|Green Bay Packers||2011||6585||15-1|
|Pro Football Reference|
Again, injuries were a factor, but anybody who watched Cowboys football in 2013 could see the scheme just wasn't effective. I don't think the players were buying in, and the cap-strapped front office won't be able to provide Kiffin's unit with much of a personnel boost this offseason.
Sure, they could rebound if they stay healthier next year, but don't they have an obvious ceiling under Kiffin? Beside, that "if" is a big one, considering that this D has been ravaged by injuries two years in a row. Don't expect DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Morris Claiborne, Sean Lee or Bruce Carter to suddenly become ironmen in 2014.
Look, there's a reason why nobody was talking about Kiffin before the Cowboys swooped in and hired him to replace Rob Ryan a year ago. This game is evolving at an exceedingly quick rate on both sides of the ball. Kiffin had a nice run in Tampa, but he failed under his son at USC and had become a dinosaur in the NFL coaching realm.
I don't know what it is about Jones, but he just won't cut bait anymore. Garrett has somehow survived three consecutive non-playoff seasons with a remarkably talented roster, and Kiffin looks as though he's going to be given a second chance to fix one of the worst defenses in NFL history.
It's hard to find anybody who believes that Kiffin should still be running this defense heading into the 2014 season, but only one man's opinion matters. And that's yet another example of how Jones' autocratic, seemingly random approach to governing this organization is both unhealthy and ineffective.
And it's another reason why this franchise is going nowhere fast.