The Dallas Cowboys made it official on Friday hiring, 72 year old, Monte Kiffin as, former defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan’s immediate replacement. Having no qualms with Kiffin’s age the fact the “Tampa 2” famed coach is still plugging away at X’s and O’s is quite the accomplishment. However, with the change at DC come a change with philosophy and the obligatory change with player personnel. As most know the “Tampa 2” utilizes overall unit speed. Acquiring that team speed usually forces the hand of a coordinator to sacrifice size for the sake of speed.
All in all it does not seem that the Dallas Cowboys defensive unit needs a complete overhaul. In fact the team seems more suited for Kiffin’s defense than Rob Ryan’s blitz heavy scheme of the past that required heavier defenders in the middle of the line to collapse pockets instead of slipping through gaps. However, the one position of controversy leading into the offseason will be who plays Mike linebacker for the new DC in Dallas? Most will quickly plug the speedy and football savvy Sean Lee and it very well will work based on Lee’s football ability alone. But with that being said the question begs to be asked would Bruce Carter be better suited at the MLB position with Lee playing the WLB? It’s an obvious question that must be asked concerning Monte Kiffin’s new defense.
Not at all admitting Sean Lee is unable to man the duties at middle linebacker but with a the linebacker manning the middle you want a speed guy who can turn hips and get back into deeper middle of the field for coverage purposes. Cowboy fans are well aware of Bruce Carter’s speed so while Lee would maintain defensive play calling duties it’s no knock against Lee that Kiffin could ask him to play to his strong suit. Sean Lee is essentially the perfect weak side linebacker. How many times has lee shown the propensity for making plays within the short zones of coverage? Having Sean Lee jumping routes while dropping back into the more shallow zones of coverage and being strategically positioned to make tackles, when the defense executes its “Tampa 2” design by routing the play toward Lee, seems both fundamental and cardinal.
Regarding the duties of the cover corners that fans desired this season but were left with a feeling of under utilization by Rob Ryan of the current cornerback crew. New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has admitted that he’s going to let the corners press in his “Tampa2” style defense. This really is a foregone conclusion as within the “Tampa 2” style defense the cornerbacks are responsible for a much smaller simply because more times than not both Brandon Carr and Maurice Claiborne will have safety help over the top allowing them to press off the line of scrimmage, playing physical by re-routing the opposition all the while being shallow enough to mount an aggressive forward on rushing plays flowing in their respected directions.
With any change it is easier for some to adapt as opposed to others. Yet the right type of change can be a positive thing and cause an environment to flourish due to the change. Monte Kiffin’s age is almost the only knock, being voiced, against the defensive coordinator but this is 2013 where things like age, race, and gender discrimination should be curtailed and thrown by the wayside in lieu of conversations of new beginnings and a better Dallas Cowboys defense.