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Urlacher: Replacing Kiffin with Marinelli made Cowboys better


Monte Kiffin is the father of the Tampa-2 defense, but demoting Kiffin may be the path for the Cowboys’ defense to get better running the Tampa-2.

That’s the word from Brian Urlacher, the former Bears linebacker who says that the Cowboys made the right call by promoting Rod Marinelli ahead of Kiffin as the top defensive coach on the staff. Urlacher played for Marinelli for three years in Chicago and says that Marinelli is the coach who will get the defense running the way it’s supposed to run.

“They’re going to be better because last year they were so bad,” Urlacher said on FOX Sports. “They didn’t run any Cover-2 last year. Monte Kiffin was calling the defense, it wasn’t my man Rod Marinelli, who is going to be calling the defense this year, so it will be a lot of Cover-2.”

The Cowboys’ defense should get better this year if for no other reason than regression to the mean: Last year the Cowboys gave up more yards and more first downs than any other team in the NFL. A defense as bad as Dallas’s almost has to get better.

But with DeMarcus Ware gone in free agency and Sean Lee out for the year with a knee injury, it won’t be easy for the Cowboys to improve significantly. Dallas fans have to hope Urlacher is right, and Marinelli is a much better coach than Kiffin.

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58 Responses to “Urlacher: Replacing Kiffin with Marinelli made Cowboys better”
  1. wryly1 says: Jul 17, 2014 11:43 AM

    When your the worst defense in the league, there’s no other way to go but up.

  2. DrSteveBrule says: Jul 17, 2014 11:43 AM

    Urlacher says that getting rid of satellite for Comcast makes TV better.

  3. Aaron Rodgers has Tiny Hands says: Jul 17, 2014 11:44 AM

    The Tampa-2 is outdated. Rather than getting better at running it, they should have brought in a new coach to replace it (copyright the Minnesota Vikings).

  4. bassplucker says: Jul 17, 2014 11:44 AM

    Urlacher has always loved him some Marinelli. Which is fine, except that you need a lot of talent to effectively run the Tampa 2, and the Cowboys ain’t got it.

    Anyone who saw the Bears try to run Lovie’s scheme last year with bargain-basement players at almost every position knows exactly what I’m talking about.

  5. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 17, 2014 11:45 AM

    true.. but, to be fair… is there anyone that would not have been an improvement to Kiffin?

    same w/ HC and GM

  6. drfeelyouup says: Jul 17, 2014 11:50 AM

    Still better than the Redskins.

  7. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 17, 2014 11:51 AM

    Yeah too bad they were short on money to pay Ware that was an amount less than the amount they blew on Kyle Orton.

  8. athwartships says: Jul 17, 2014 11:54 AM

    Better as in?

  9. ragnarthegreat says: Jul 17, 2014 12:03 PM

    everyone figured out how to beat the Tampa 2 years ago. It leaves huge gaps/seams between the corners and the deep safeties. It makes the corners look bad at the point where they release to the safeties. It will fall apart when you flood any area like sending 2 WR’s and a fast tight end into an area. Then you need to cover a WR with a linebacker and better get to the QB instantly. It really only works today if you have elite athletes at the safeties, linebackers and defensive ends. Few teams can afford truly elite players at all these positions today. It is great defense if your planned ceiling is 8-8. It’s time is past.

  10. dalfanforever says: Jul 17, 2014 12:03 PM

    We’ll see if he’ll be better, but it darn sure couldn’t get worse. With D-Ware, we were still ranked dead LAST in the NFL defensively. Which is, of course, Romo’s fault.

  11. johndaly69 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:05 PM

    Cowboys gonna get steamrolled all season. When you actually TRADE for Rolando McInsane you know your bad. 6-10 at best.

  12. grndizzle says: Jul 17, 2014 12:08 PM

    Replacing Ryan with Kiffin made them a lot worse to begin with.

  13. hakunamangata says: Jul 17, 2014 12:09 PM

    The Minnesota Vikings will have the best defensive in the NFL under Defensive Guru Mike Zimmer who’s never not had a top 5 defense in their life


    2000, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 with the Cowboys

    2007 with the Falcons

    2008 and 2009 with the Bengals

  14. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 17, 2014 12:11 PM

    8-8 is just fine for JJ

  15. RegisHawk says: Jul 17, 2014 12:15 PM

    Kiffin lost his edge when he left the league to help out his son, but I’m not sure that the HC of the 0-16 Lions is an upgrade. Can we bet “PUSH”?

  16. masher1965 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:16 PM

    Is the Cover – 2 “outdated” ?? Why yes, every team has seen it thousands of times and know how to beat it. Now for the shocker, EVERY SINGLE NFL TEAM RUNS IT at sometime . It is in every NFL teams defense’s playbook , just like the cover -3 and the dreaded “prevent ” defense . Good DC’s use mixed schemes to confuse offenses, when DC’s have great personal, he doesn’t have to do that. Marinelli will be mixing his schemes

  17. sportsfan18 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:22 PM

    Uh, yeah a team can get worse even when they were last in something, like team defense.

    They can give up more yards, more points and finish further away from 2nd to last.

    Not saying the Cowboys defense will get worse, but yes a person or a team can get worse even when they are last or were in last place.

  18. thepftpoetisacrossdresser says: Jul 17, 2014 12:30 PM

    And….I failed to add that Marinelli has had what most supposed experts called “dream teams” on defense over the last decade wherever he has been….and he has wet the bed with almost all of them.

  19. ccc23454 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:41 PM

    if your the worse last year and your the worse this year that is technically no improvement. you may suck less but your still the worse…

  20. thepftpoetisacrossdresser says: Jul 17, 2014 12:42 PM

    And….(I know, I know) some of the better defensive coordinators teams crapped the bed for the most part, when they got a HC gig. Zimmer’s overseeing the team now, not coaching the D.

    – B. Ryan
    – R. Rhodes
    – R. Marinelli
    – L. Smith
    – J. Del Rio
    – D. Capers
    – J. Haslett
    – M. Nolan
    – L. Frazier
    – R. Crennel

    Noting that Leon Lett is currently on the Dallas defensive coaching staff….that team is utterly screwed. I have shoelaces smarter than that cat.

  21. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jul 17, 2014 12:42 PM

    Marinelli will likely do a better job of adapting the defense to his current personnel which didn’t happen much last season under Kiffin. Last year was a big transition for the defense so it should seem more familiar to them this year and show up as playing with more confidence.

  22. scrp2 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:42 PM

    In this picture coach Lovie Smith invited Mr. Clean to hangout on the sidelines.

  23. rolltide510 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:46 PM

    Monte Kiffin didn’t run Cover 2? I thought that was the whole point of Monte Kiffin.

  24. gofor2with3pointlead says: Jul 17, 2014 12:54 PM

    The Cover-2 is no better or worse than any other defensive scheme. It’s execution, there isn’t a defensive scheme that doesn’t require pressuring the QB and there isn’t a DC with a job that doesn’t want turn overs. Judas Priest it isn’t rocket surgery.

  25. suhperbowl90 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:54 PM

    As long as JJ is still making personnel decisions & Lee is out with that ACL injury it doesn’t matter who runs the defense they still gonna suck.

  26. ducksk says: Jul 17, 2014 1:00 PM

    Brian who?

  27. enot4200 says: Jul 17, 2014 1:20 PM

    Is your MLB a box player or is he good in coverage and do you have four line me that get pressure constantly. It’s always the Jimmies and the Joes not the X’s and the O’s.

  28. mrlaloosh says: Jul 17, 2014 1:23 PM

    I’m a better coach then Monty Kiffen. And I’m terrible.

  29. masher1965 says: Jul 17, 2014 1:25 PM

    @ thepftpoetisacrossdresser , I disagree with the part of your statement where you say Marinelli “wet his pants” when he had “dream team” defenses and “failed”. His seasons with the Bears were good. When his defenses were bad , it was strictly due to massive injury , too many players simply got hurt and the depth was too thin. When his defense was healthy, the Bears defense was among the league leaders . He is a good DC , but without talent and depth, you can’t make a silk purse with a sow’s ear

  30. largent80100 says: Jul 17, 2014 1:27 PM

    Now they can finish 8-8 again.

    Or not, since Garrett is still there.

  31. laudermk says: Jul 17, 2014 1:30 PM

    all this talk about defenses and Tampa-2 and Cover-2 and Spider wide right 3 banana is borderline hilarious if not downright pathetic….grown men for the most part(including me) analyzing football like it was molecular biochemistry…all this crap of quarterbacks reading defenses and calling audibles and geniuses in playcalling and all this bullcrap forget that once the ball is snapped a qb has maybe 1.8 seconds to make a decision and release the ball…and he is going to make his reads and go through progressions and “take the top of the defense” and all this nonsense when basically he already knows who he will throw it to when he gets under center and then if something happens he throws to whomever is open…why do football coaches and certain segments of the population like to make this more complicated than it is? pretty simple game and frankly more games are lost because of players trying to remember some idiotic defensive or offensive number or coding system instead of just playing…I mean it’s like saying Nick Saban is a genius at coaching….nahh…I could win paying the players that much money and that much talent

  32. hdl62 says: Jul 17, 2014 1:34 PM

    Me being a Cowboys fan I see us going 8-8 again…but in the NFL world who knows anything is possible hopefully Romo will last all season Ugh

  33. gofor2with3pointlead says: Jul 17, 2014 1:37 PM

    Urlacher looks like he just walked off the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

  34. guachosporlife says: Jul 17, 2014 1:40 PM

    Doesn’t matter scheme or coach involved–you need playmakers, easy as that.

  35. 49erlifer says: Jul 17, 2014 1:47 PM

    Yea week 1 watch that tampa two get torched GO NINERS!

  36. gammynomnom says: Jul 17, 2014 1:49 PM

    Romo really does need to improve his pass rushing and ball coverage skills.

  37. deathmonkey41 says: Jul 17, 2014 1:51 PM

    wryly1 says: Jul 17, 2014 11:43 AM

    When your the worst defense in the league, there’s no other way to go but up.

    Not true- you can easily REMAIN the worst defense in the league.

  38. vladimir says: Jul 17, 2014 1:53 PM

    Who is Brian Urlacher ????

  39. floratiotime says: Jul 17, 2014 2:14 PM

    Less talking Brian. People will think you’re smarter.

  40. tvjules says: Jul 17, 2014 2:18 PM

    The sad part was, Jerry didn’t replace Kiffin due to performance, he just wanted another 75 year old buddy to play shuffleboard with every afternoon.

  41. lesterclan says: Jul 17, 2014 2:23 PM

    …It is in every NFL teams defense’s playbook , just like the cover -3 and the dreaded “prevent ” defense …
    I don’t think you’re allowed to say “prevent” defense anymore. In the early 90’s, I think the NFL passed a rule that “prevent defense” was to be renamed “Tom Olivadotti’s Base Defense” or “Prevent the Win” defense for short.
    We’ll let it slide this time, just be careful.

  42. ivanpavlov0000 says: Jul 17, 2014 2:23 PM

    Losing Sean Lee is huge. That guy was a terror on the field. He won’t be easily replaced.

    As a Detroit fan, I have a deep hatred for Rod (0-16) Marinelli and I’m not convinced he could get a defense to line up properly for a lunch break.

    If you guys can win shoot-outs, you’ve got a shot. Your defense won’t be winning any games for you.

  43. bunjy96 says: Jul 17, 2014 3:10 PM

    Looks like Lovie is going to run the Tampa2 this year, where it was born.

  44. watchdawg1103 says: Jul 17, 2014 3:54 PM

    I have no doubt the Marinelli is the better coordinator….but with the personnel we have to choose from, and losing Ware and Lee, I don’t see there being a big difference. Our wins will probably come from surviving shootouts or mistakes by the other team.

  45. flexx91 says: Jul 17, 2014 4:04 PM

    Any team that thought they could employ the Tampa-2 in an era with QB’s that are more mobile and TE’s are no longer just occasional pass-catching blockers should fail miserably.

  46. flexx91 says: Jul 17, 2014 4:05 PM

    As a Saints fan, I sure hope Lovie employs the Tampa-2.

  47. crewchief15 says: Jul 17, 2014 4:17 PM

    Can’t wait until September, when all the mouths stop flapping. The Cowboy’s may not win, but I love the way they get under the skin of others. Most hated/loved and talked about team. It’s like that envy thing…

  48. fiverings37 says: Jul 17, 2014 4:21 PM

    Good, because they can’t be much worse.

  49. dcstinks says: Jul 17, 2014 4:25 PM

    I guess Urlacher is going to play for Dallas this year.

  50. jlbutler66 says: Jul 17, 2014 4:27 PM

    With the type of talent (or lack of) we have on our defense the key to maximizing its performance will be finding a way to put the players in a scheme that gives them the best chance to succeed. It would take a truly imaginative,innovating defensive coaching staff to do that. When I look at our defense coaching I do not see this do you? If that’s the case we will need to light it up offensively to stand a chance to have a winning season and no lead will be secure. Stock up on your antacids it’s going to be that kind of year again. If Romo goes down turn out the lights the party is over.

  51. bucsorbust says: Jul 17, 2014 5:17 PM

    It’s time for Kiffen to think more about playing golf, but he is one cool dude. I was a flight from LA to Tampa…wearing my usual Bucs polo…and Monte came aboard. We caught eyes and he said…”There’s a Bucs fan.” I told him “How are you coach…we miss you in Tampa.” Wouldn’t you know it, during the flight, he actually came up and talked to me for about a 10 minutes, just about football…a total stranger but clear fan. What was really funny is I was sitting next to this very well know actress, who I didn’t recognize at all until someone said her name. When Monte left, I told her “Hey that was the DC for the Cowboys and Bucs…”. She looked at me like she was made I didn’t know who she was, and said “I don’t follow sports” as about 5 others asked for her autograph.

  52. alongthegulf says: Jul 18, 2014 12:18 AM

    I wasn’t aware Urlacher ever played for Monte Kiffin. Looking back, he didn’t, so basically that an unfair comment if he actually said Rod Marinelli is better than Monte Kiffin. He may have said the Cowboys defensive should be better with Rod Marrinelli running the show and not have mentioned Kiffin by name. Kiffin mentored Marinelli at TB. They both play the same Tampa 2 defense. They both are high quality gentlemen. They both offer encourage to their players. They both like to teach their players. The biggest difference is the Marinelli has a little more rah rah in him and animation to him. In Urlacher mind maybe that makes him better. To me, one is the extension of the other. I have faith in both men.

  53. bloodybj says: Jul 18, 2014 8:41 AM

    No one ‘figured out’ the Tampa 2 defense, I’ve been a bears fan for 30 years, it relies on QB’s to make mistakes, if a quarterback is on fire it has no chance, I would think it will work with RGMe in there division

  54. pd9971 says: Jul 18, 2014 9:56 AM

    Nobody knows the Cowboys better than me and trust me this team is in big trouble this year! The offense will have to score 40 points each game because the defense will give up points in bunches, the Cowboys will be 5-11 this year but greener pastures are on the way in 2015.

  55. jlbutler66 says: Jul 18, 2014 10:18 AM

    Wow! How pray tell do you expect this big turn around to occur in 2015? We are in deep trouble when it comes to salary cap and age is starting to rear it’s ugly head at some key positions. Frankly, I think if things turn ugly this year Jerry will throw a fit and heads will roll starting with Jason Garret and those closest to him. Tuff to see a better team coming out of this turmoil but I guess anything is possible. Let’s pray. I want the record to show I have serious doubts.

  56. BringBackTheFlex says: Jul 18, 2014 10:52 AM

    pd9971 says:

    Nobody knows the Cowboys better than me and trust me this team is in big trouble this year!

    And you’re expertise and inside knowledge comes from where? There is no serious data that shows this team capable of less than 10 wins this year. Please post your sources for this incredible knowledge.

  57. pineflat711 says: Jul 18, 2014 7:58 PM

    Like to hear what JJ using as an excuse when we lose the first 4 games.

  58. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 19, 2014 7:34 PM

    long live JJ and JG, may the owner let them GM and HC forever

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