Three days after the Dallas Cowboys fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, they have replaced him with a coaching legend. Multiple sources are reporting that the Cowboys have hired Monte Kiffin as their new defensive coordinator.
The 72 year-old Kiffin is best known as the inventor of the Tampa 2 defense. As the defensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 11 years, his defenses rated in the top ten every season, except for one. Kiffin also won a Super Bowl with the Bucs in 2002. His championship defense included players Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch.
Former Cowboys scouting director Larry Lacewell told ESPNDallas.com he believes this is Dallas’ best hire since Jimmy Johnson.
“Frankly, I think it’s the best hire the Cowboys have ever made. Well, other than Jimmy [Johnson]…To fall into Monte Kiffin is just a gift,” said Lacewell, who used Kiffin as a sounding board when Mike Zimmer copied his scheme with the Cowboys. “To pull this off is just a coup. Whoever thought of this was real smart.”
Kiffin’s last coaching job was under his son, Lane Kiffin, at the University of Southern California. His lack of success at USC last year is being blamed more on their lack of talent and recruiting restrictions then Kiffn’s coaching prowess.
It is unclear whether Dallas will now shift to a 4-3 defense. If so, expect the Cowboys to address their lack of defensive line talent in the upcoming NFL Draft and/or NFL free agency.
When asked about Kiffin’s potential to coach the Dallas defense, his former player, linebacker Derrick Brooks, told the Star-Telegram:
“I don’t know if he has the players there yet. I hope he does. I just know what we did to make our defense great. Some would say it’s so simple, but at the same time, it’s so complex. You always hear about Dallas, ‘They’ve got talent. They’ve got talent.’ Well, now it’s time to roost. They can answer the question: Do they really have talent?”
Kiffin’s success spreads further then just his defenses. Coaches who have worked under Kiffin include Lovie Smith, Mike Tomlin, and Herm Edwards.