In the mediocre, “one step forward, two steps back” world in which the Dallas Cowboys dwell, we have somewhat positive news to offset the latest moronic decision by Jerry Jones: Monte Kiffin has been promoted to assistant head coach and Rod Marinelli has been promoted to defensive coordinator.
Cowboys fans everywhere would be shouting “Hallelujah” if it weren’t for all the disgusted gloom in the DFW over Scott Linehan being added to Dallas’ offensive play-calling drama. But this latest news involving the defense is positive, so we’ll try hard to stay positive today.
Kiffin is one of the most respected defensive minds in the modern football era, but his time has passed. He wasn’t ready to return the NFL after a less-than-spectacular three-year tenure at USC and he was embarrassed as the Cowboys finished with a defense that ranked among the top five worst units in league history. Of course, a slew of injuries and a team full of 3-4 players trying to run his 4-3, Tampa 2 scheme didn’t help, but that stupidity is on Jerry.
So now the Cowboys enter the 2014 NFL season with two new coordinators in as many years with Marinelli now set to call defensive plays for the first time since the 2012 season when he was with the Chicago Bears. For what it’s worth, Chicago ranked fifth in the NFL that year in total defense, so his recent track record is a little better than Kiffin’s coming in.
Marinelli is also more familiar with the Cowboys’ defensive players as this will be his second year in Dallas after he coached the defensive line in 2013. In addition, Marinelli has experience working through injuries as he endured a lot of them (and a shaky secondary) in Chicago, so on paper, he’s a great fit for the job. Of course, that’s not saying much compared to Kiffin, but Cowboys fans can’t be picky at this point.
One this is for sure: The Cowboys’ defense won’t be historically awful again in 2014. That’s not to say the unit will be record-setting in a good way, but Dallas will be respectable on the defensive side of the ball for the first time in half a decade. Well, that’s assuming Marinelli coaches a coverage scheme that’s simple enough for Morris Claiborne to comprehend and one that fits the Cowboys’ current defensive backing corps. Let’s put it this way: If Claiborne plays like a former top-10 pick in 2014, Marinelli will have proven his worth.
Enjoy this positive news while you can, Cowboys fans. This doesn’t happen very often.