Cowboys demote Kiffin, name Marinelli DC
It was reported Monday that the Cowboys were set to hire former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to call their plays, and while Callahan is retaining the title of offensive coordinator, he is taking a clear backseat to Linehan in the pecking order.
On Tuesday night, it was reported that the Cowboys were promoting defensive line coach Rod Marinelli to defensive coordinator, relegating Kiffin to an assistant head coach position.
One could see a change at defensive coordinator coming from a mile away, though Jones threw us off the trail when he said that "nothing has changed" with Kiffin's job status. The Cowboys ranked dead last in total defense in their lone season under Kiffin while failing to bottle up both the run (ranked 27th) and pass (30th).
The hire of Kiffin was criticized right from the start, as he came in to change the Cowboys' 3-4 defense to a 4-3 base in his Tampa 2 scheme. The transition gave the Cowboys the lightest defensive end tandem in football (even if franchise tagged Anthony Spencer had not been injured), and put a number of players in positions that they were not accustomed to playing.
Marinelli worked under Kiffin in Tampa Bay, so he will install the same basic principles of the Tampa 2 defense that Kiffin installed last offseason. Marinelli also ran the Tampa 2 under Lovie Smith during his time with the Chicago Bears. The hope is that Marinelli will make the transition to a new coordinator seamless, while also giving the defense an injection of new ideas and philosophies.
Unfortunately for Marinelli, the Cowboys have a lack of talent on his side of the ball. Top linemen Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware could be gone this offseason, which would leave Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick, and an injury-prone Sean Lee as the only solid pieces on defense. For those wondering, former first-round pick Morris Claiborne has the look of a bust.
Kiffin is one of the more respected minds in recent NFL history, as he was the mastermind behind a defense that has brought success to several franchises. The NFL, however, is an ever-changing league, and it was time for the Cowboys to move on from their legendary coordinator. You can't expect a complete turnaround for Dallas' defense in 2014, but this was the right move.