I felt like Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett would need to make a big hire fast after angering and saddening a bunch of his defensive players when he fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan OVER THE PHONE on Tuesday.
Now, ESPN’s Ed Werder and Chris Mortensen are reporting that the owner/team president Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett will pursue former USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
They’ve discussed this hiring as 72 year-0ld Kiffin is most respected for a stretch of 12 seasons where his Tampa Bay Buccaneers defenses were in the top 10 in both points allowed and yards allowed 11 times, an NFL-record span. Garrett was a back-up QB in 2004 with the Buccaneers. Kiffin’s defense gave up 31 and 41 in back-to-back losses to finish the 2008 season, dropping Tampa Bay to 9-7 and knocking them out of the postseason hunt. While some may consider this exit from the USC Trojans to be akin to the Lane Kiffin/Pete Carroll Houdini acts to leave messy situations for more pleasant ones, I’m confident Monte just misses the NFL and was doing his son a favor at USC. The Kansas City Chiefs were also interested in him, but Andy Reid claims he is focused on bringing a 3-4 defense, not 4-3/Cover-2 that Kiffin runs. Onto the more troubling issue.
Here are some player reactions to Rob Ryan’s firing.
ILB Bruce Carter: “WTF!”
CB Sterling Moore: “Not Happy Right Now!”
Jason Hatcher: “It was a privilege to play under Coach Rob Ryan! One of the greatest. Sad day. I’m hurting right now.”
So, what’s going on here? Do the Cowboys want to move to a 4-3? They didn’t like that they acquired two press corners and that Rob Ryan didn’t use them in press much?
The Cowboys had many injuries on defense, but the 3 big ones were defensive leader and gamebreaker MLB Sean Lee (before their second game was over), DT Jay Ratliff, and ILB Bruce Carter. This doesn’t include how ineffective OLB Demarcus Ware was in week 17, spending half the snaps on the sideline.
When you look at the games where both Ratliff and Carter played, the Cowboys defense was either good or great:
They allowed 24 points on the road against the Baltimore Ravens (Pro Bowler and WR/KR Jacoby Jones had a return TD which took away a drive they otherwise would have had to defend).
They allowed 14 to the Carolina Panthers, forcing 2 turnovers and getting 2 sacks.
They allowed 22 to the New York Giants (DE Jason Pierre-Paul had an INT return for a TD), forcing 2 turnovers, getting 1 sack, holding them to field goals FIVE TIMES.
They allowed 19 to the Atlanta Falcons, who got away with a huge Roddy White OPI on a drive that would have only been a FG, getting 3 sacks.
They allowed 23 to the Philadelphia Eagles, getting 2 sacks and scoring 2 defensive TDs.
They gave up 20 to the Cleveland Browns, getting 2 sacks and forcing 1 turnover and holding them to 2 TDs on 10 possessions.
The one that looks bad is the Browns game, but let’s not forget that the Cowboys punted 7 times that afternoon, turned the ball over once, and the game went into overtime.
Hit “Like” or the Facebook share button if you want the Cowboys to get a huge name at defensive coordinator, no matter what it costs!
Follow me at: http://twitter.com/Chris_M_Bach