Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the No. 1 reason for a change in defensive coordinators is the lack of turnovers that were being produced under Rob Ryan.
The Cowboys had only 16 takeaways last year and 21 the year before.
Garrett noted that the Bears led the NFL with 44 takeaways this year. (Last year, the league leaders, the 49ers and Packers, had 38). It’s no coincidence that the Cowboys went after, and got, Bears defensive coordinator Rob Marinelli to rejoin his former boss, Monte Kiffin, in a remake of the Dallas defensive coaching staff.
“The Bears had 44 takeaways. We had 16. That’s 28 more opportunities with the ball,” Garrett said Tuesday at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. “Give me some of those 28 opportunities. That’s something that we really sat back and thought a lot about, had a lot of discussions about – what’s the best way to try to achieve that, and then, ‘OK, you want to do that, now who are the guys who can help implement that?’ ”
Marinelli was a defensive line coach for Kiffin when Kiffin was defensive coordinator at Tampa Bay.
“We feel great about Monte and Rod, added to the other the guys on our defensive staff who we really like,” Garrett said. “And then similarly we have to do the same kinds of things on offense. Let’s address some of the things that we think we can get better at with these staff moves. And that’s certainly why we’re here.”
Garrett praised Ryan for making the defense competitive despite injuries that cost him half his starters, and he said he and Ryan did not have a personality conflict.
“Great guy, great coach,” Garrett said.
But Garrett acknowledged that the Cowboys began thinking about a philosophical change some time ago.
“It’s probably unfair to say that (during the season), because what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to make everything work,” Garrett said. “You know, you’re trying to say we can make this work.”
-- Carlos Mendez