The Dallas Cowboys are looking at Rod Marinelli to be the saving grace for the defense. If everybody is expecting him to reinvent the wheel, they’ll be sadly mistaken. He will make this group better, but it will be by doing the little things.
“Tedious repetition of the simplest movements every single day. That is tough to do. That is really tough to do but that’s what you shoot for. In this system it’s really important because we’re based so much on fundamentals. The standard is us as coaches. We have to set the standard in terms of that because you see over the course of the year your drill work can start going downhill a little bit. You can’t allow [bad habits] to creep in on you. What happens is you get guys starting to get beat up and they can’t practice as well… It sounds incredible but you lose them quick. You’ve just got to stay on them.”
Basically, Marinelli is preaching things that a lot of coaches do year in and year out. Everybody has to be accountable for their work. There has to be a trickle down effect from the coaches to the players. If somebody does something wrong, it must be pointed out and corrected. All players need to be put on notice for their expectations.
Winning is tough in the NFL. Adjustments have to be made on the fly. Without a solid base of fundamentals to fall back on, those changes and adjustments can seem like monumental challenges instead of insignificant tweaks.
This type of accountability and demand to do things until they’re second nature is what the defense lacked last season. There’s a reason they ranked last in the league in total defense. It’s because most of the players were not prepared. They would be called upon and the game would quickly pass them by. Then, when times got tough, they didn’t have the heart or desire to fight through the issues.
This mandate that Marinelli is setting for the players will push them to be their best. If they aren’t willing to be their best every day, then Marinelli will find the guys who are pushing themselves. He won’t be afraid to pull guys who aren’t getting it.