NFL NEWS: Monte Kiffin
With the Dallas Cowboys allowing Monte Kiffins contract to expire, is a return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers near?
Kiffin, who was hired to be the Bucs defensive coordinator in 1996, was last assistant head coach and defensive specialist for the Cowboys. The team originally brought him on board to be defensive coordinator in 2013 before being demoted in favor of Rod Marinelli.
While rumors of Marinelli reuniting with current Bucs head coach Lovie Smith were a bit premature, Kiffins release could possibly signal his return to the team.
What would Kiffins capacity be? At 75, would he want to return to the rigors of coaching NFL defenses again given what transpired in Dallas? While current defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will have more years to coach in the league, could both be retained in a pairing of defensive minds? At 2-14, the Bucs have many fractured parts and not a lot to build on with the imminent first overall pick looming in the 2015 NFL Draft. It may be wise to also retain Frazier given what happened at the end of Kiffin’s last run with the Bucs.
Even if Kiffin is rehired to take over, he doesnt have anywhere near the same staff he had during the Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden years. Perhaps the best role for Kiffin could serve as an advisory role a la Butch Davis during the Greg Schiano years. If Kiffin can help guide Smith and general manager Jason Licht to help find the correct players and work with existing coaching staff, we could see the seeds sewn for a better disciplined unit. Anything helps at this point when you have the 25th overall defense with the fifth worst passing defense. It would probably also help with ticket sales with the said 2-14 team.
Need proof of Kiffins results? How about the fact that the Bucs defense under him only failed to make the top 10 twice in his 13 years with the team.
Kiffin and Marinelli have had a long history together.
Kiffin and Marinelli were among the chief architects of Dungys coaching staff to help usher in the Buccaneers golden age. Kiffin ran the defensive unit while Marinelli coached the defensive line. The three coaches perfected the Tampa 2, yet offensive struggles hindered the teams progress that led to Dungys firing in 2001. With the defensive staff retained and former Oakland Raiders head coach Gruden on board, Marinelli was promoted to assistant head coach while retaining defensive line coaching duties. The 2002 Bucs would go on to win Super Bowl XXXVII against Grudens former team.
The Bucs havent won in the playoffs since eventually parting way with Grudens firing in 2008. Kiffin joined his son, Lane to the University of Tennessee. Marinelli bounced in 2006 going to the futility of the Detroit Lions and later joining his friend, Smith with the Chicago Bears to run their defense for three seasons.
The Cowboys under head coach Jason Garrett brought in the some coaches from that game in Grudens successor with the Raiders Bill Callahan in 2012 to run the offense. Kiffin and Marinelli would join as part as his staff the following year. Unfortunately, this combo still ended up with another early playoff exit.
So with a new offensive mind and a team to rebuild is it about time to bring him home? Why not?