Monte Kiffin doesn’t hold the title of Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator anymore, but he’s as fired up as ever. Just ask him.
“I’m really excited. I’m really fired up,” Kiffin said. “I’m not down one bit. I’m really not. I can’t coach that way. I wouldn’t stay here. If I didn’t feel right, if I knew I wasn’t going to contribute, and it wasn’t going to be a good situation, I promise you I would have moved on. I like it here. I like the head coach. But Rod Marinelli is the guy.
Kiffin was hired a little over a year ago to oversee the team’s transition from the 3-4 to the Tampa Two 4-3 style (commonly referred to as the Texas-2 Defense on this site).
But the Dallas Cowboys allowed 6,645 total yards, third-worst in NFL history, finishing last in the NFL in total defense, allowing 415.3 yards per game. Dallas also allowed 432 points, second-most in team history.
The 74-year-old entered the season hoping he’d be coaching a defensive group that included Anthony Spencer, DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, and Jason Hatcher up front. But injuries prevented that from ever happening.
“I remember this time last year out here at mini-camp, it’s the Doom’s Day Defense or whatever and you look clear across the board with Spencer, Hatcher, Ware and Ratliff, but it just happened.
“No one planned it that way and decided they would just write this script up to see if you can do it or anything. Nobody planned it that way, believe me.”
The Dallas Cowboys reassigned Kiffin to assistant head coach/defense and promoted defensive line coach Marinelli to defensive coordinator. Kiffin talked to the media today, for the first time since, insisting it wasn’t a hard decision to stay after discussing his new role with Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett and Marinelli.
Kiffin says he never thought about leaving the Dallas Cowboys when he was demoted in January. His good friend Rod Marinelli was promoted from defensive line coach to defensive coordinator.
“It wasn’t like a one-day decision,” Kiffin said. “We discussed it, … and what the situation would be if I was to stay. It wasn’t a hard decision. It really wasn’t. I wasn’t going to go anywhere, as long as the situation was right. If it wasn’t right, I would have gone.”
Kiffin and Marinelli worked together in Tampa Bay (1996-2006), with Kiffin as the defensive coordinator and Marinelli as the defensive line coach. This season will mark their first stint together when Marinelli has final say.
“Monte’s been awesome,” Marinelli said. “Let me tell you what: I think it’s important to state that I don’t think I’ve ever been around a guy that took a bump in the road, — OK? took a bump – and his work habits have not changed. He’s here — the first guy in the morning, last guy at night, working, how do we get this better? He’s all about winning.
Of all the things he’s accomplished in his career, which is a lot, this might even be the best thing that he’s done. With all the wins, the Super Bowls, all those things, whenever anybody hits a bump in their life, instead of going into the tank, man-up, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”
Kiffin will help with mentoring coaches and players, game-planning during the week and will continue to sit in the coaches’ box upstairs during games.