After the Dallas Cowboys performed the Texas Two-step with dual 8–8 seasons; owner and general manager (Jerry Jones) deemed that a full team “evaluation” was needed to right the ship. He determined that the time had come to turn the page on the 3–4 defense and the resurrection of the 4–3 would soon be on its way.
For those that don’t know, the 4–3 was originally created in the 1950’s by legendary coach Tom Landry and is basically the alignment of four defensive linemen and three linebackers. So the decision meant it was OUT with Rob Ryan and IN with Monte Kiffin, but was this really a great hire or another miss by Jones?
There’s no disputing; in his prime, Monte Kiffin was THE GUY when it came to the 4–3, specifically with Tampa-2 coverage. Kiffin (under Jon Gruden) helped mold a young Tampa Bay Bucs team into one of the toughest defenses in the NFL and is one of the biggest reasons the Bucs hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in 2003.
Jerry Jones stated at the end of the season that, “changes are coming” to the Cowboys. It was highly rumored that Rob Ryan would likely be given a “pass” due to injuries that crippled the Cowboys defense and a new head coach could be in the near future for Dallas.
Those named as “potential” candidates were the recently ousted Eagles head coach; Andy Reid, the possibility of Jon Gruden, or even Mike Holmgren. Of course Gruden quickly denied any interest in leaving the broadcast booth, and Reid…well I’m not sure the Cowboys Nation could ever embrace that option. But the Holmgren rumor had some real traction.
Holmgren has a resume that seemed to fit the Cowboys. And the proven ability to “coach up” gunslinger quarterbacks; and in particular, one such “gunslinger” (Brett Favre) that Tony Romo once modeled his style of play.
However; in the end it was decided “Red” would remain THE MAN in Dallas for 2013; and upon being dismissed, Rob Ryan headed to the Saints after the longest “five minutes” in history. So, was all the talk about Holmgren just that…talk?
“What does this have to do with Kiffin”, well several sports pundits stated that the reason why Holmgren was not the Cowboys new head coach probably stemmed from a belief that he would “lack the intensity needed for an entire game”.
This “theory” at the time seemed somewhat plausible as it was geared mainly towards a combination of Holmgren’s time away from the sidelines as well as his age (Holmgren is 64). Then came the hiring of Monte Kiffin and the “theory” seemed to be immediately discredited.
Suppose for a moment there was some validity to this “theory” of sideline prowess and age versus game day intensity. With Kiffin now at age 72; and in light of his recent sub-par performance with USC, does this apply more to him than Holmgren?
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