Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said it’s not easy to play for new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, but Marinelli makes it work because he builds relationships with the players.
“It’s a hard day’s work. In a really good way,” Garrett said at the owners meetings in Orlando. “But I think when you’re asking guys to do a lot, and demanding that guys do a lot, developing that relationship with them is an important piece to that. They understand that what you’re asking them to do is in their best interest and ultimately in the team’s best interest.”
Marinelli was promoted to defensive coordinator after coaching a defensive line wrecked by injuries last season. Now he is in charge of improving the worst defensive performance in the history of the franchise, in part with one of his former players, defensive tackle Henry Melton, signed from Chicago as the Cowboys’ premier acquisition in free agency.
But Marinelli will also have to make do with castoffs and journeymen like Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain, plus unproven draft pick Tyrone Crawford, undrafted Ben Bass and veterans Nick Hayden and George Selvie.
“He has a great track record of guys at a lot of different levels, getting the most out of them,” Garrett said. “There are a lot of examples throughout his career, where you have a highly-talented player, a first-round pick who he gets the most out of. OK, how about the mid-round pick? How about the older guy? How about the younger guy? How about the guy who was a free agent? He seems to, in this defensive scheme, get a lot out of these guys. They certainly buy in to how he coaches them.”
-- Carlos Mendez