Cowboys demote Kiffin, hire Linehan as play-caller

 

The Sports Network

Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Cowboys' latest disappointing finish has triggered a major offseason shakeup to the coaching staff, with the front office reducing the role of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and stripping offensive coordinator Bill Callahan of play-calling duties.

Both will remain with the organization, with Kiffin reassigned to the position of assistant head coach/defense and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli elevated to the DC post.

While Callahan continues to hold the title of offensive coordinator, the Cowboys hired onetime St. Louis Rams head coach Scott Linehan to take over as the team's play-caller.

Dallas brought in Kiffin, best known for constructing the famed "Tampa 2" defense during a successful run as the Buccaneers' defensive coordinator from 1996-2008, to turn around a unit that struggled during the Cowboys' 8-8 finish in 2012. The defense regressed further under the command of the 73-year-old, however, as Dallas finished last in the NFL in yards allowed (392.4 per game) and surrendered 432 points, the second-highest total in franchise history.

Marinelli, who also worked under Kiffin with the Buccaneers, had previously served as the Chicago Bears' defensive coordinator from 2010-12. In his final season directing the Bears' defense, Chicago topped the NFL in interceptions (24) and takeaways (44) while yielding the third-fewest points in the league (17.3 per game).

"Our responsibility is to bring quality people into our organization and find the best fit for them. That applies to players, and it applies to coaches," said Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. "Rod Marinelli's production in terms of creating turnovers and changing field position as a defensive coordinator is well documented. Monte Kiffin's overall knowledge and understanding of this defensive scheme will be put to use in mentoring all of the players and coaches on the defensive side of the ball. Monte was brought here to direct a transition in philosophy to the 4-3 scheme, and he will continue to oversee the development of our defense in this scheme."

Linehan, who spent the past five seasons as the offensive coordinator in Detroit following his three-year stint as the Rams' head coach, becomes Dallas' third play-caller in as many years. Garrett had held those duties until being removed from that role by owner Jerry Jones prior to the 2013 campaign.

"The opportunity to add someone of Scott Linehan's expertise and experience will benefit our offensive unit, and we believe the combination of him and Bill Callahan working closely together will give us a great chance to build upon the strides we made offensively last year." said Garrett.

Multiple reports indicated that Jones had prevented Callahan, who has one year remaining on his current contract, from leaving the organization to pursue opportunities with another team.

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