Is this Jerry's "unconventional move" to break from the 8-8 doldrums?



"I'm very upset; I'm very irritated," Jones said on his weekly radio show after losing the NFC East for the second consecutive season in the final game of the year. Since that loss to the Redskins, Jerry has been on the warpath.

"I can tell you change is necessary at 8-8," Jones said. "Change is in order when you spend the two seasons in a row down to the last two games and lose them, so we're going to have to have changes."

Most fans agreed, but scoffed when Skip Peete, the running back coach was dismissed. The media correctly predicted that more moves were on the way.

"I can assure our fans this, that it's going to be very uncomfortable from my standpoint, it's going to be very uncomfortable for the next few weeks and months at Valley Ranch," Jones said.

"I'm going to spend a lot of time visiting with people outside of the organization that I have a lot of confidence in that will help us evaluate how to do the things that I know what our fans want to do, and that's not be sitting here at .500," Jones said. "There are a lot of teams that haven't been at .500, but nobody hasn't been at .500 and spent as much cash as I'm spending."

Jerry has dropped $154,716,360.00 in signing bonuses since 2008. That money has garnered exactly one post season victory, one NFC East division crown, three season ending losses to each division rival that were for the division crown, and a 42-38 regular season record.

Jones recognized that something "unconventional" needed to occur. Jerry was not sure what needed to happen. "But how do we somehow create us an opportunity to kind of break out of this cycle -- drive across the water if you will?" Jones said. "That's the challenge that I have right now."

Then Jerry uttered, "I didn't like the way we were playing in a lot of cases. I thought we could play better before the injuries, and so I factored that in. It wasn't like we had a lot of injuries out here when we played Chicago. It wasn't like we had a lot of injuries when we played Seattle. I didn't like the way we played there."

Subsequently, the Cowboys released Rob Ryan. Garrett announced, "I want to express my appreciation to Rob for all of his efforts and contributions to the Cowboys over the past two years. At this time, the decision has been made to move forward in a different direction philosophically on defense. I have an immense amount of respect for Rob as a person and as a football coach and I wish him and his family the very best."

That philosophical change in direction resulted in the hiring of Monte Kiffin. Monte was known for his simple, yet extremely effective two-deep zone scheme he ran in Tampa Bay. It was an unconventional move to fire Ryan, shift from the 3-4 defense to the 4-3 defense, and bring in Monte Kiffin.

Now Dallas has hired Rod Marinelli. The former Vietnam Vet is known for running extremely physical practices in Chicago. Rod did not emphasize hitting in Chicago as much as he had the defense run, run, and run some more to the ball.

It seems that Marinelli's philosophy closely resembles that of Garrett's in Dallas. In fact, Rod answers Jerry's request for a defense that is sounder fundamentally.

"You want to build a really good foundation of fundamentals -- bone-on-bone football -- [with] how we tackle, how we force, how we break on the ball. When that's in place, I think progress will be made," Marinelli said. "Without that, then I think you become a gimmick defense. When that foundation is set, then we can take off. But when you build a house of straw -- if you're doing too much [schematically] -- you might be winning by scheme, you don't want to do that in my opinion."

The "house of straw" could easily be perceived to be the Ryan 3-4 that was in place last season in Dallas. There has been talk of Ryan's gimmicky defense being schematically unsound.

Rod also believes in competition. While in Chicago last season, he noted, "They're working extremely hard, and the competition is fierce. The biggest thing is I think they understand what we're trying to accomplish, the discipline that's needed in our system. It's kind of to create havoc and chaos under an umbrella of discipline. Your motor has got to be at full tilt, but you still have to stay disciplined in the structure of a defense. That part's coming."

Several players talk about Marinelli in meetings rehashing the same subjects over and over again, drilling them exhaustively to the point that most of those things morph to become second nature in game situations.*

The players also point to Marinelli's motivational tactics -- he puts together a video to pump up the defense before every game -- and strict adherence to accountability in describing the coach's worth.*

Former players note the characteristics of Marinelli as a coach. Lance Briggs offered, "He wants aggression. We're gonna be a pretty violent bunch. One of the things he kind of mentioned, he said, ‘Hey, this isn't a 3-4 defense. We're not gonna beat people [by] trying to disguise the things we do. We line up with our best 11 and basically kick their butts.' I love that attitude, and I think that's what we've got to do."

"He's hard-nosed, old-school guy," Melton said. "He wants things done the right way -- perfect -- and you don't want to disappoint him."

"The whole defense is built on trust, coaches and players together," Marinelli said. "The coaches know every coach is coaching the exact same thing. All the details show up. That's what you're looking for; that you can trust a guy and they can trust each other."

"I'm going to try to make it pretty equal, and let these guys really compete," Marinelli said. "These two-minute drills we do are fun. It can really tell you who can pass rush when they're fatigued, under duress, who can make calls and communicate. Those type of things. Those are all the things you're looking for."

Considering that discipline is needed to stop the read-option, this philosophical shift sounds like a big step in the right direction. Watching Dallas' defense fly around next season will be a welcomed change.

Fear the Star in 2013! Trademark OCC

*Quoted from

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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