Dallas Cowboys

Winning is thicker than blood in Marinelli-Barry families

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will coach against his son-in-law, Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry, tonight.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will coach against his son-in-law, Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry, tonight. Star-Telegram

The Cowboys-Redskins game creates some unease for the Marinelli and Barry families. Rod Marinelli coordinates the defense for the Cowboys. His son-in-law, Joe Barry, runs the Redskins defense.

Marinelli’s wife and daughter can’t lose tonight… but can’t win either.

Marinelli made a joke when asked if it there was anything special coaching against Barry.

“I’m not quite sure who that is, so not really,” said Marinelli, who earlier this season went against his best friend, Bucs head coach Lovie Smith.

Marinelli and Barry have a close relationship. They talk often, most recently last Sunday after the Redskins beat the Giants.

Marinelli coached the Buccaneers’ defensive line for five of the six years Barry was the linebackers coach in Tampa Bay from 2001-06. Marinelli left to become the Lions’ head coach in 2006 and recruited Barry as his defensive coordinator in 2007-08, drawing heat for the relationship as the Lions sank to 0-16 their final season there.

“He’s one of those guys that impacts every single person that he’s around,” Barry told Redskins reporters last week. “I don’t know if there was ever a day when I didn’t get something from him. As a young coach, I think that was huge, because you wake up every day and you’re excited to go to work, because you know you’re going to get better. You’re going to get a little tidbit. And that’s what Rod is. Special man, special coach.”

Barry didn’t get another chance to become a defensive coordinator until this year, spending the past six years as a linebackers coach with the Bucs, Southern Cal and the Chargers.

“I think he’s smart,” Marinelli said. “I think he relates to people really well, communicates very well and is a teacher. Once you have those bases, I think you have a chance to be really good. And he has a great passion for the game.”

Redskins defensive lineman Jason Hatcher, who played for Marinelli in Dallas, sees Marinelli’s influence on Barry on a daily basis.

“He’s always quoting some of [Marinelli’s] stuff,” Hatcher said. “’You become what you repeatedly do,’ stuff like that. I’m like, ‘Is coach Marinelli here?’ That guy kind of raised him. But he’s an awesome guy. He comes to work every day the same guy with great energy. We like to have him as our defensive coordinator.”

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