Jul 21, 2013; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Rod Marinelli at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Promoting Rod Marinelli: Defensive Coaching Changes Still Loom for the Dallas Cowboys

Jul 23, 2013; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin runs drills during today

Monte Kiffin and staff are still entrenched as coaches on the Dallas Cowboys and no words have been said to the contrary. But other than a firm endorsement of Head Coach Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones has been surprisingly vague. He’s made statements that sound as though the staff will remain intact, but it’s not in the bold unequivocal fashion we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years.

To those who know Jones, something seems amiss, or at least unsettled, with the status of the coaching staff. Specifically that of Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin. The situation on the defense is a strange one. Kiffin has only coached one year for the Cowboys, converting them from an aggressive 3-4 man coverage defense to a more reactive 4-3 zone defense. An undertaking of this magnitude is no small feat and was expected to take a little time. The Cowboys and their fans were prepared for growing pains but no one expected it to be THAT bad.

It’s always difficult to replace a coach after only one year on the job, but that’s the least of the barriers preventing Jones from swiftly jettisoning his 1 year coordinator. Here are a couple other factors forcing Jerry Jones to handle the Kiffin Situation extra carefully and a prediction on what will happen in 2014.

Mone Kiffin is a Legend

Most will agree Kiffin has legendary status in the NFL. Legendary status shouldn’t affect a decision in today’s What Have You Done For Me Lately NFL – but it does.  Especially to Jerry Jones. Jones doesn’t have the luxury of acting brashly with a respected NFL legend. He already struggles with a reputation that most established NFL people try to avoid.  Unless he never wants to hire a respected coach again (which is a possibility considering we are discussing Jerry Jones), he will need to be very careful with the handling of Kiffin.

Rod Marinelli is Important

The gem of the Dallas Cowboys defensive staff is DL coach Rod Marinelli. Heck, he’s the gem of the entire staff. Everyone knows Marinelli is extremely loyal. Prior to last season, he left Chicago to play in a lower ranking position in Dallas. All because he wasn’t happy with how Chicago handled Head Coach Lovie Smith’s dismissal.

At this point in the 64 year old Rod Marinelli’s career, he’s not as interested in the money and status as he is about his players and peers. How the Cowboys handle Monte Kiffin will determine Rod Marinelli’s future with the team.


Monte Kiffin will remain on staff and quite possibly even retain the title of Defensive Coordinator, but Rod Marinelli will be the real Defensive Coordinator in 2014. Former players and coaches all sing the praises of Marinelli’s ability to coach, motivate, and generally lift-up a team. He has the ability to motivate players to play beyond their potential. For a defense that is notorious underachievers, this is quite possibly the most important quality in a Defensive Coordinator.

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at [email protected]. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson



Tags: Dallas Cowboys Monte Kiffin Rod Marinelli

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