Dallas Cowboys

Rod Marinelli staying with Cowboys

The Cowboys are close to a new deal with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, according to a source. The team could announce it later today.

Marinelli told coach Jason Garrett when the season ended that he would return if Garrett wanted him back, according to a source. And Garrett said at a press conference Tuesday that Marinelli wanted to stay, and that he wanted Marinelli back.

“I would absolutely like to see Rod Marinelli stay here,” Garrett said Tuesday morning. “He’s done a great job for us. …I express that to him on a daily basis.”

Marinelli’s contract expired after the 2014 season, as did many on the Cowboys’ coaching staff, and the team has an exclusive three-day negotiating window before the assistants can talk to other teams beginning Thursday.

Speculation had been that Marinelli could rejoin his best friend, Lovie Smith, in Tampa. Instead, he chose to remain with Garrett in Dallas.

Marinelli is a strong candidate for the league’s assistant coach of the year award. He took over the third-worst defense in NFL history, replacing Monte Kiffin, and the Cowboys ranked 19th in total defense and second in takeaways in 2014.

“Rod’s just done a fantastic job not only for our defense but our whole football team,” Garrett said. “He made our players better. He made our coaches better. He’s just a great football coach, and he’s a great person to have in your organization. He represents all the right things, and I thought the defense played remarkably well. We had a lot of questions coming into this season, and we had some injuries and at every turn that group just continued to overcome the different adversities that cropped up and handled the situations well and played very well. There are a lot of different ways to measure your defense, and a lot of people get caught up in yards and all the different ways that people use numbers in this game but taking the ball away impacts the game. It impacts the game like none other and for us to be second in the National Football League taking the ball away, that’s really positive really impact on our football team. You look at the correlation between takeaways and points scored, and it’s a pretty direct correlation and has been for a long time, and points scored relates to winning. So their impact was significant, and I thought they handled all the different adversities really well, and I think his leadership had a lot to do with that.”

Marinelli has not commented since the season ended in Green Bay.

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