You want to know how to create an elite defense in the National Football League? Simple really; take two defensive mastermind’s inventions, roll them into one and add a talented healthy defensive roster. This perfect combination of football greatness will be present in Dallas in 2013.
We all know Tom Landry’s brilliance by now. The man invented the 4-3 alignment when the majority of the NFL was still using the 5-2 front. It was his masterful genius to pull a defender off the defensive line and make that defender his brand new middle linebacker. And when the rest of the NFL caught up to speed and began using his invention, the brilliance that was Tom Landry invented his own offensive wrinkle to beat his own 4-3 scheme.
That’s Tom Landry, which brings us to the other defensive mastermind, Monte Kiffin, now 73 years young. Kiffin’s invention, the “Tampa 2,” a cousin of Tony Dungy’s Cover 2, was perfected during his years in Tampa Bay (1996-2008).
Kiffin’s scheme really calls for four things: 1) Speed 2) Preventing touchdowns 3) Creating turnovers and finally, 4) Attack, Attack and Attack! I don’t know about yall, but I would kill for preventing late touchdowns and creating an abundance of turnovers, all the while attacking the opposing offense with speed.
The numbers over Kiffin’s tenure with the Buccaneers are staggering to say the least. His defensive units, consisting of defensive greats; Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch, Simeon Rice, Shelton Quarles and Ronde Barber, finished in the top 10 in points allowed AND yards allowed ten times during his 13 years in Tampa Bay. Translation…NFL record.
Further, his defenses’ averaged 39 sacks, 19 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries a season during that same span with the Bucs. That’s AVERAGED folks! Translation as mentioned…STAGGERING.
Our Dallas Cowboys had a mere seven interceptions last season with newly acquired cornerback Brandon Carr leading the team with three. We finished with only 16 total turnovers and a minus-13 turnover margin (27th in the league). As a team, in the last five seasons, we have finished in the top 10 in interceptions ONCE.
Want to know the last time our ‘Boys boasted the league’s top ranked defense? 2003
2003? Bill Parcells’ first year with the team where we finished a surprising 10-6 and qualified for “The Tournament?” The year of the immortal Quincy Carter and leading rusher Troy Hambrick?
Yes, that year, as in ten years ago, and the offense got plenty of help from the defense. When you go back and look at some of the names, it’s really not surprising. That 2003 top ranked defense included: La’Roi Glover and Greg Ellis in his prime on the line, Dexter Coakley and Dat Nguyen at linebacker, and in the secondary, 5th overall pick Terrence Newman at cornerback, second year stud Roy Williams at safety and long-time safety Darren Woodson in his last year on the field. But that was it; 2003 was the last time we finished the year with the #1 overall defense.
Either way, I digress. That’s why I call these my “Rants.” I’ll get to my point