After a special request, the Dallas Cowboys have been selected to play in the annual NFL Hall of Fame Game against the Miami Dolphins. Dallas was wise to ask for the “honor” because it means the team gets an extra week of training camp this year plus one additional preseason game, which is key since the Cowboys are switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. It’s also good news for the Dolphins, who will be breaking in a new tight end and receiver in Dustin Keller and Mike Wallace.
The Cowboys’ defense was finally starting to look like a decent NFL unit under Rob Ryan in 2012 despite a slew of injuries, but the plug was pulled on his tenure far too early. Now Dallas is a little late on the switch to the 4-3, but will attempt to make the switch in a single offseason under Kiffin, who was incredibly successful running the scheme with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the early 2000s.
Miami responded to the pleasantly surprising play of quarterback Ryan Tannehill during his rookie season by bringing in new weapons for him in Keller and Wallace and ensuring that Brian Hartline didn’t leave via free agency. Now it’s all on the sophomore signal-caller to show he was worth a top 10 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
These two teams are perfect for the occasion as Larry Allen and Bill Parcells are among the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees this year. Allen spent 12 seasons with the Cowboys, which included a Super Bowl championship after the 1995 NFL season. Parcells was the head coach in Dallas for four seasons and a Miami executive for three.