Cowboys Links: Kiffin/Marinelli Talk, Barry Church's Impact, Tony Romo Doing Too Much

Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

A few good reads on the Cowboys for your Friday afternoon/evening.

Over at the mothership, Bryan Broaddus argues that even though Monte Kiffin is the defensive coordinator, the real key to making things happen over on that side of the ball is Rod Marinelli.

As much as I respect Monte Kiffin and what he has done in his career as a defensive coordinator in this league, the hiring of Rod Marinelli is what is going to make this new scheme work. The key will be how this defense will get pressure with four rushers. Listening to Marinelli talk today, it’s a job that he takes very seriously. I liked what Marinelli said about letting the game tape introducing him to the player. Too many times coaches and scouts think they understand what the player is, but until you really sit down and study him it is the best way to clearly know him. I liked what Marinelli also said about evaluating the player on the field through drills to figure out where the best scheme fits are instead of just saying that this guy is a one or three technique. I know that he and Kiffin have an idea where these players might fit but until they get them on the field it will either confirm or change their opinions.

Getting Marinelli paired back up with Kiffin was definitely a coup for Dallas in the offseason. The Bears wanted Marinelli to remain as their defensive coordinator, but because of his close relationship with the fired Lovie Smith, he decided to move on.

I know this is a different team, with different players, in a different era, but just thinking about the kind of success Kiffin and Marinelli had together in Tampa Bay deserves some major respect.

Kiffin and Marinelli were together 10 seasons in Tampa. During their time there, the Bucs defense was in the top 10 in points allowed every year and in the top 10 in yards allowed in all but their first season of 2006 when Tampa ranked 11th. The Bucs went 89-71 from 1996-2005, allowing an average of 281.4 yards and 16.7 points per game. They generated an average of 32 turnovers a season.

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What did the Cowboys defense lose when Barry Church went down? A physical presence according to Jerome Henderson.

Secondary coach Jerome Henderson said the Cowboys lost some of their physicalness when they lost safety Barry Church last year. "He was physical. He was hitting people. He was the physical presence we wanted," Henderson said Thursday as the Cowboys assistant coaches met with reporters.

Henderson said Church showed the deep range that the Cowboys asked themselves if he had. "I got here and studied the tape – you didn’t see him make plays on the back end," Henderson said. "The first play of the game against the Giants, they take a shot and he knocks the ball down in the deep part of the field."

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When it comes to Tony Romo, I've always said the same thing. If he could control his urge to try and do too much, thereby limiting turnovers, he'd be among the very best in the game today. Wade Wilson is definitely pushing that theme.

"I think that happened a lot this year," Wilson said. "He tried to make up for mistakes and trying to convert third-and-longs. It leads to bad plays." Romo had a 74.0 passer rating on third-down plays in 2012. Those included several third-and-long situations, but elite quarterbacks find ways to convert those plays. "We talk about (game management) all the time," Wilson said. "Certainly you want to take care of the football. We’ve got to do a better job with that. Always talking about game management and things."

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Thank Kyle Orton for the late-season development of James Hanna.

James Hanna began to deliver on the Cowboys' investment in him late last season, and one person they can thank is backup quarterback Kyle Orton.

He stayed on the rookie tight end's case, and it paid off, said new tight ends coach Wes Phillips.

"People saw the end result where he started making plays, but we also saw when he was running scout team at the beginning of the year and Kyle Orton is on him every single day about how to practice, how to be a pro, how to work," Phillips said Thursday in meeting reporters for the first time in his new job. He really made some strides."

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The guy who created one of the most iconic logos in sports passed away.

One of Tom Landry’s first-ever hires and a man responsible for the Cowboys logo we see today, passed away this week. Jack Eskridge died Monday morning at Centerpoint Medical Center in Valley Falls, Kansas at the age of 89. His family is holding funeral services and chapels this weekend in Independence, Missouri. Eskridge joined the Cowboys in 1959, a year before the inaugural season. With the team needing a new logo, it was Eskridge who designed the blue star, giving it a white border outline to provide a 3D-effect.

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