Kiffin’s most noted time in Coaching was the thirteen years he spent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While he was there in 2004 he encountered a backup Quarterback named Jason Garrett. It was towards the end of Garrett’s playing career and he had long been eyed as a future Coach in the NFL ranks. Partly that is due to his father being a lifer as a football man, partly because he always was a coach, even as a player. As Tampa’s third string quarterback Garrett often ran the Scout team drills.
He became familiar with Kiffin, and Kiffin with him. In 2013 they will have a chance to become even more familiar. There is all kinds of speculation about where the Cowboys go from here. Kiffin is noted as the mastermind of the “Tampa 2″ cover style of Defense. It is a Zone scheme run in Tampa from a 4-3 set. Dallas has been a 3-4 set since 2005 and in 2012 spent money on two Cornerbacks who excel at press man to man coverage.
Combine that with Kiffin’s advanced age, he will be 73 next month, and the comfort level for fans of the Cowboys isn’t any better than the Coaches at Valley Ranch. I think the hand wringing is for naught. Monte Kiffin knows how to coach talent and our cornerbacks are smart football players who know how to play. He will play them to their strengths, and they will play his system to his. Good coaches know how to use good players, and good players know how to play in a system.
If the Cowboys do move to a 4-3 front it will mean that DeMarcus Ware will not break the NFL record for sacks by a Linebacker. He currently stands fifth all time on that list. Kevin Greene leads with 160.0, Lawrence Taylor is second with 132.5. Rickey Jackson is third with 128.0. The late Derrick Thomas is fourth with 126.5. Ware is closing fast with 111.0. So if we move to a 4-3 he will not set that record. I think if the Cowboys start winning, creating turnovers, and getting sacks like Kiffin’s Defenses always have Ware won’t care one whit.
Neither should we. Welcome to the spotlight Monte Kiffin. I have a feeling he won’t have reporters flocking to him like Rob Ryan, but his results can potentially be a lot higher too. He’ll be inheriting some amazing talent in Dallas. Comfort doesn’t matter, winning does. Can a return to fundamentals lead to winning? Stay tuned.