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Dallas Cowboys Offseason 2015:Cowboys Coordinators Getting Some Love

The Cowboys have a group of good coaches on their payroll and it showed in their performances last season. Now two of those coaches have been getting some national love.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest areas of success in Jason Garrett's tenure has been the staff he surrounds himself with although it's taken him some time to get the right guys. However, as we sit here coming off a 12-4 season, where the offense set new heights and the defense vastly overachieved; some credit is due.

This offseason, the first items on a large list of to-do's was to retain both Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli. Despite unfounded rumors of a Marinelli-Lovie reunion in Tampa surfacing minutes after the Cowboys' divisional loss to the Packers, Marinelli chose to remain in Big D. In fact, you could argue that the most important and integral decision for the Cowboys began with those two guys.

Of course, nothing ever comes without it's own detractors and caveats. For the Cowboys, the promotion of Scott Linehan to offensive coordinator spelled the end for Bill Callahan, who was largely responsible for the rebuild of the offensive line. Rod Marinelli had even a tougher task the year before because he was taking over one of the worst defenses in league history without much overhaul. Despite losing DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, Marinelli was able to improve the defense to 19th overall in the stats ranking.

Now, as we enter the dead-zone as I refer to it, most of the articles we read focus on lists and rankings of prospective teams, players, and even coaches. Among these I paid particular attention to the NFL's Bucky Brooks column this past week. In it, he discusses the NFL coordinators and their prospective rankings among their peers. I found it interesting because he gives credit where credit was due. Brooks has always been one of the more objective writers on their site and his scouting reports are not far off what we get from Bryan Broaddus. In fact, they are pretty close pals and I can get behind his work. Here's what he said about the Cowboys' coordinators:

Scott Linehan 5th (11th overall)- "Credit Linehan for checking his ego at the door to give the Cowboys the best opportunity to win in 2014. The passing guru made a philosophical shift, adopting a run-first approach to help Dallas pound opponents behind a massive offensive line and a talented, one-cut runner (DeMarco Murray). It's telling that, even with the aerial attack on the back burner,Tony Romo led the NFL in completion percentage (69.9) and passer rating (113.2), with Dez Bryant snaring a league-best 16 touchdown receptions. Given the discipline and adaptability Linehan has shown in Dallas, the savvy play-caller deserves a spot on this list."

My take: I couldn't agree more with what Brooks said. You have to go back to some of those groans last offseason about Linehan being a pass-first guy. Linehan made everything click in Dallas, where Callahan took the opposite approach, Linehan found ways to mix it up. With the help of this stout offensive line, Linehan rode the legs of DeMarco Murray and the accuracy of Tony Romo into a promotion. Brooks ranks Linehan fifth for offensive coordinators, which is about right. Linehan did a lot for this team and filled some holes that they were missing. As much as some folks made before, everyone was on-board by the end. Scott Linehan has a fantastic rapport with Jason Garrett and has created a special bond with Tony Romo. The sky is the limit for this offense and by having Linehan, Garrett can rest easy.

Rod Marinelli 1st (2nd overall)- "The ex-Marine has always been viewed as one of the top defensive coaches in football, but his work with the Cowboys in 2014 represents one of the best coaching jobs in recent history. Marinelli transformed a group of castoffs and misfits into a stout unit by getting his guys to play harder than the opponent. As simple as it sounds, it is hard for most defensive coordinators to get every defender to run to the ball with reckless abandon. Yet, the crusty play caller convinced the 'Boys to swarm the ball like a pack of wolves. Most importantly, the unit tackled as well as any defense in football and attacked the ball with the kind of ferocity that routinely produces turnovers. Granted, the Cowboys' scheme is simple, but the flawless execution and impressive hustle is a testament to Marinelli's ability to get his team to buy into his message."

My take: I was bit surprised that Hot-Rod got this much appreciation, but I shouldn't have been. As Bucky reiterated, Marinelli does such a fine job with simplifying his scheme to fit any type of player on the roster. For him, it's more about being disciplined and having a high motor than anything else. Marinelli has some type of wizardry in him to constantly get the best out of everyone involved. Now, with an influx of talent coming his way via free agency and the draft, Marinelli looks to have possibly one of the better units coming in 2015. The one area that needed the most help was in the pass-rush department. After obtaining Greg Hardy and drafting Randy Gregory plus pairing them with incumbents like Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence, Marinelli could take the NFL by storm this season.

It's exciting to think what this season has to offer and a lot of that comes from these two guys. It's equally exciting to see that some national guys are starting to understand what this staff is capable of. Now let's hope this team is ready to take an even bigger leap in 2015.

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