The Dallas Cowboys moronically fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and replaced him with former USC Trojans play-caller Monte Kiffin after their disappointing 2012 season ended. The coaching transition also brings a scheme transition from Ryan’s 3-4 to Kiffin’s Tampa 2, a variation of the 4-3. This obviously means personnel changes for Dallas at the front seven positions, but it means a change in philosophy back deep, especially for strong safety Barry Church, who will return in 2013 from a season-ending Achilles injury he suffered in 2012.
Church mage huge strides in his second and third seasons under Ryan before that latter campaign–his first as a starter–was cut short because of the injury. Now he’ll have to learn Kiffin’s new scheme on the fly, which requires the safeties to play on the perimeter. Ryan’s scheme varied a lot, which allowed Church to come up and make big hits on receivers and ball-carriers, especially over the middle of the field. Now he’ll be coming to make those hits later and from an angle, which could hinder his growth as a player. This is just another perfect example of why this coaching change was completely idiotic, but that’s another Rant.
I’ve been told that hardly anyone actually watches film on players anymore, so if you watch “highlights” of Church on some consumer outlet like YouTube, you’ll see that most of his big hits come in the middle of the field when he was basically playing centerfield, which was a possibility on occasion for the strong safety in Ryan’s scheme. That will not be the case in Kiffin’s plan.
Now Church may take the Tampa 2 by the horns and run with it, especially if the Cowboys’ new middle linebacker plays well in pass coverage down the middle as is required at that position in Kiffin’s scheme. I wouldn’t plan on it because the Cowboys don’t have the personnel to run it, but we can be optimistic, right? I know, it’s hard to do as Cowboys fans.