As I read the reports from the Dallas Cowboys rookie mini camp and the OTAs, I can hear the words to an old classic song running through my head. “Signs, signs, everywhere are signs…can’t you read the signs?” The signs I am seeing tell me one thing about the 2013 version of the Cowboys; they are going to mash the accelerator to the floor and not look back.
Some people are going to wonder how I am saying this when we’re not even approaching Training Camp yet. It is a fair question, and I do have some circumstantial evidence for you to ponder as we discuss this. My first article for the court is going to be the unceremonious firing of Rob Ryan while he was on vacation. I don’t know about any of the rest of you but I was a little tired of all his talk with very little deliverance. Yes, I do understand he had a patchwork Defense due to the mass of injuries. He also led a unit that still allowed 400 points and had so few takeaways that it is almost a miracle we finished 8-8. Too often his Defenses did not hold up when we needed them to, and that included early in the season at full health.
Which leads me to the second article for the court to consider; the hiring of Monte Kiffin as the new Defensive Coordinator. In the modern era of football there are 4 faces that are etched on the Mt. Rushmore of dominant Defensive minds. They are Bill Belichick, Dick Lebeau, the late Jim Johnson, and Monte Kiffin. What makes Kiffin a piece of the evidence? Above all else it is that his Defenses have always been aggressive. If you think about the Buccaneers Defense during the Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, and John Lynch era you will remember most of all that they hit hard, played fast, and kept scoring low. Consider this, in Kiffin’s 13 years in Tampa Bay his Defenses allowed an average of 278.4 points per season. If you go back to 1995 and the Cowboys last Super Bowl win you will only find 5 seasons where they were better than what Kiffin’s group averaged.
My third piece of this aggressiveness puzzle is in the forum of Rod Marinelli as the Defensive Line Coach. You can bet one thing in particular this year with Marinelli’s teams, they are going to go after the football. Last year the Chicago Bears amassed 44 takeaways with Marinelli at the helm of that Defense. I want to promise you something here first before I go any further. The Dallas Cowboys genuinely liked up and coming former D-line Coach, Brian Baker. But no matter how much they liked him, they were not going to retain him over acquiring Rod Marinelli. 44 takeaways by the 2012 Bears. Dallas was not even half that. In fact, if you combine Rob Ryan’s 2 years here they do not equal that one season by Marinelli’s Bears. Effectively the Cowboys have 2 capable Defensive Coordinators on the same Defense.