Monte Kiffin’s first hire when he arrived in Dallas was Rob Marinelli as his defensive line coach. The two are reunited after a seven-year separation to try to return glory to the Cowboys.
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.
“I think what we did there, and a lot of other guys were there with us, [gave us] a bond and… a belief [in the system],” Marinelli said. “There are things maybe you do differently here and there over the course of the year. But that foundation, the fundamentals of what we do, is the core belief for us. That kind of unites us. That’s why I wanted to be a part of this and be back with him.”
Marinelli left the Bucs in 2006 to become head coach of the Detroit Lions. He lasted only three seasons, going 10-38. He spent the past three seasons as defensive coordinator in Chicago, working for Lovie Smith, who was the Bucs linebackers coach from 1996-2000.
The Bears wanted to retain Marinelli as defensive coordinator, but he chose to leave.
"There’s no doubt [it was hard to leave]," Marinelli said. "But my No. 1 relationship is with Lovie Smith. Yeah, he’s probably one of my best friends in life, and I believe in him and I went there because of him and it’s not the right place for me without him."
-- Charean Williams