Cowboys looking at Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator

Posted Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

IRVING -- The Dallas Cowboys are targeting 72-year-old Monte Kiffin as their next defensive coordinator, replacing the fired Rob Ryan.

Kiffin was at the team’s Valley Ranch headquarters for most of the day on Thursday talking to coach Jason Garrett and owner Jerry Jones, according to multiple sources.

There were no negotiations on a contract Thursday afternoon but things could change quickly, per a source close to Kiffin. If so, the hire could be made on the weekend, if not by Friday.

A move to Kiffin would be the philosophical shift Garrett talked about when he fired Ryan on Tuesday. The Cowboys would switch from the 3-4 back to the 4-3 scheme they used for years under Super Bowl coaches Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson.

It would also mean the return to his NFL roots for Kiffin, a 46-year coaching veteran who is widely known as the father of the “Tampa Cover 2.”

Kiffin coached 26 years in the NFL, including 13 as defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before joining his son, Lane, in the college ranks at Tennessee in 2009. He spent the past three seasons as Lane’s defensive coordinator at USC.

Kiffin resigned under pressure after the 2012 season because of the Trojans' failures on defense, and is seeking a return to the NFL.

The Cowboys believe more in Kiffin’s NFL track record than they do in his struggles at USC, according to a source.

Tampa Bay ranked in the top 10 in total defense in 11 of his 13 years. The Buccaneers averaged 39 sacks, 19 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries a season during his time there.

Another reason the Cowboys won’t hold USC against him is that his 2008 team in Tampa Bay had 22 interceptions, 29 sacks and allowed just 20.2 points a game. He also allowed just three 300-yard passers.

The Cowboys believe Kiffin still has enough fire and energy to get the job done, even though he will turn 73 on Feb. 29. Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau remains successful at the ripe age of 76.

The bigger issue for the Cowboys if they turn to Kiffin is fitting their 3-4 talent to the 4-3 scheme, most notably Kiffin’s Cover 2 scheme in the secondary.

The Cowboys believe inside linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter can make the conversion to middle linebacker and weakside linebacker, respectively.

They would have to find a strongside linebacker.

Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware would move to defensive end. Although it would likely put more wear-and-tear on him, it would also signal the end of him in coverage as he would rush the passer every down.

If the Cowboys don’t re-sign Anthony Spencer to play defensive end opposite Ware, that position becomes a focal point in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Jason Hatcher and nose tackle Jay Ratliff would be able to man the two tackle positions in the 4-3.

Ware has surgery

Linebacker DeMarcus Ware underwent successful shoulder and elbow surgeries on Thursday. His rehab time is expected to be five to seven months. He will miss the entire off-season program and minicamps but should be ready for the start of training camp at the end of July.

Ware has been scratched from the NFC Pro Bowl roster. He will be replaced by Minnesota linebacker Chad Greenway.

Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760

Twitter: @clarencehilljr

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Tuesday, September 23Full Scoreboard
Kansas City2Top 5th | Box
Cleveland0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-KC, STO
Baltimore2Top 4th | Box
NY Yankees0@theBallpark | TV: MASN, MY9, ESPN
NY Mets1Bottom 5th | Box
Washington0@theBallpark | TV: SNY, MASN 2
Seattle2Bottom 5th | Box
Toronto1@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-NW, SNET
Chicago WSox0Bottom 4th | Box
Detroit0@theBallpark | TV: CSN-CHI, FSN-DET
Pittsburgh0Top 4th | Box
Atlanta2@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-PIT, SPSO
Tampa Bay0Bottom 4th | Box
Boston0@theBallpark | TV: Sun Sports, NESN
Milwaukee0Bottom 4th | Box
Cincinnati2@theBallpark | TV: FSN-WI, FSN-OH
Philadelphia0Top 5th | Box
Miami1@theBallpark | TV: CSN-PHI, FSN-FL
St. Louis0Bottom 1st | Box
Chicago Cubs0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-MW, WCIU
Houston0Bottom 1st | Box
Texas0@theBallpark | TV: CSN-HOU, FSN-SW
Arizona0Bottom 1st | Box
Minnesota0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-N
LA Angels 9/23 10:05 PM ET
Oakland TV: FSN-W, CSN-CA
San Francisco 9/23 10:10 PM ET
Los Angeles TV: CSN-BA, SprtsNet LA, ESPN
Colorado 9/23 10:10 PM ET
San Diego TV: ROOT-RM, FSN-SD
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 23Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 4Full Scoreboard
Thursday
NY Giants 8:25 PM ET
Washington TV: CBS, NFL Network
Sunday
Carolina 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Green Bay 1:00 PM ET
Chicago TV: FOX
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: CBS
Detroit 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: FOX
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Oakland TV: CBS
Tampa Bay 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: FOX
Jacksonville 4:05 PM ET
San Diego TV: CBS
Atlanta 4:25 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
Philadelphia 4:25 PM ET
San Francisco TV: FOX
New Orleans 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: NBC
Monday
New England 8:30 PM ET
Kansas City TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 23Full Scoreboard
Pittsburgh02nd Prd 9:11 | Box
Columbus0
Carolina02nd Prd 9:52 | Box
Buffalo0
Philadelphia02nd Prd | Box
Toronto1TV: NHL Network
Boston22nd Prd | Box
Montreal1
Nashville02nd Prd | Box
Tampa Bay0
Detroit 9/23 8:30 PM ET
Chicago 
San Jose 9/23 9:00 PM ET
Vancouver TV: NHL Network (JIP)
Arizona 9/23 10:00 PM ET
Anaheim 
Vancouver 9/23 10:30 PM ET
San Jose 
Full Scoreboard