Over the past three seasons Kiffin has served as defensive coordinator (under son Lane) for the USC Trojans. The Trojans fans have watched as their 23rd ranked defense (2009) slipped to 68th (2012) under Kiffin’s watch.
Prime example of the defenses decline occurred last season versus Chip Kelly’s Oregon Ducks. The Trojans defense gave up 62 points and was shredded for 730 total yards (the most ever in USC history). And in case you’ve been under a rock; yes, the same Chip Kelly who was recently named the Philadelphia Eagles head coach.
Kiffin’s inability to produce a consistent defensive threat at USC should make any Cowboys fan wonder how much is left in the tank. Does Kiffin now “lack the intensity”? In addition, does this hiring create any stability issues for the Cowboys defense moving forward?
Upon accepting the coordinator position for Dallas, Kiffin became the second oldest coach in the NFL behind Dick LeBeau at 75. Questions of retirement continually circle LeBeau at the end of every season. So you have to wonder, how long will the Cowboys be able to retain Kiffin? Which leads to the question every Cowboys fan should be asking, “Why not Lovie Smith”.
Just after the season ended, the Chicago Bears decided to part ways with Coach Smith after nine years as their head coach; five of which the Bears reached the playoffs (including one trip to the Super Bowl). Smith; an East Texas native, is a long-time defensive coach whose primary focus (much like Kiffin) is the 4–3 alignment with Tampa-2 coverage. This focus helped to revive the “Monsters of the Midway” into a consistent defensive juggernaut.
Most would agree that this next season is a “make or break” for Coach Jason Garrett. At the age of 54, Lovie Smith has all the accomplishments you’d want in a head coach and could have easily ascended to the position in the event Garrett under performed.
What we DON’T know is if Jerry Jones ever reached out to Lovie Smith to discuss any serious interest in the defensive coordinator position. As an East Texas native who grew up watching the Cowboys, you’d think Coach Smith would have entertained the idea. Especially if the carrot offered had an “Assistant Head Coach” title attached.
In January, Smith stated that he plans to sit out for 2013; and if an opportunity arises, he’d like to return as a head coach in the 2014. What we DO know is Lovie Smith has recently shown he can create a top five defense and will be a future part of the NFL landscape, can Cowboys fans say the same about Monte Kiffin?