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Should Rod Marinelli Be on the Hot Seat?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli Should Be On The Hot Seat

After being one of the hottest teams in the NFL a year ago, the Dallas Cowboys have struggled quite a bit in 2017. Surprisingly, the problems have come from every aspect of the game, offense, defense and special teams.

However, the defense is the biggest issue for this football team. That is a fact.

It doesn't matter how much you argue whether Dak Prescott should've thrown that pass on second and one or not. Or if he should have slid at the one-yard line instead of scoring.

The truth remains that this is a defense that allowed Aaron Rodgers and his offense to drive the ball down the field to score a game-winning touchdown in less than a minute and a half.

And it isn't just about last week. The Cowboys haven't had a dominant defense for what feels like an eternity. Some blame the players, some blame the coaches.

For a long time, I've been reluctant to blame coaching. But now, I think it's high time we take a look at Rod Marinelli being the problem for this defense.

Cowboys Nation has always defended Marinelli saying that he "has done more with less", arguing this is a defense without talent from which Rod Marinelli has exceeded expectations every year.

Cowboys Blog - Rod Marinelli: Cowboys' Key Piece on Defense

Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

To a point, this is fair. In 2014, the Cowboys were supposed to have the worst defense in NFL history and ended up being the 15th best in the league. The Cowboys finished their regular season 12-4 that year.

But to be honest, I think that we are underestimating the talent this defense has.

I understand that maybe the Cowboys don't have the talent necessary to become an elite defense, but they're not even decent. Rod Marinelli might be a great teacher, and we've seen it with a lot of projects he's had over the years. But when it comes to coaching the entire defense, he probably can't handle it.

Rod Marinelli uses the Tampa 2 defense a lot, which is a zone scheme. Players like Morris Claiborne, for instance, might've had better careers in Dallas if man-to-man coverage was used more often.

The Tampa 2 scheme also relies a lot on its defensive line to pressure the quarterback. This is why it seems like we never see a blitz by the Cowboys' defense.

Looking at this Cowboys defense, I can't help but wonder what the team can do with these players. Rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis would probably benefit from playing man-to-man coverage more than zone coverage.

Has CB Jourdan Lewis Earned A Starting Role?

Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

Byron Jones, Xavier Woods are players that could be great at blitzing with the athleticism they both have. Once Jaylon Smith is 100% healthy, he could be used in a lot of different ways, too.

This defense might not be great today, but it does have a lot of talent ready to be exploited. Rod Marinelli's conservative approach to the game is not what they need.

I think however this season ends for the Cowboys, this will be Marinelli's last year in Dallas. This team is very young and its talent shouldn't be wasted.

There are a lot of directions this team can go if they decide to move on from their defensive coordinator. I think the most likely option will be giving linebackers coach Matt Eberflus the chance. He has done a great job with the linebackers and he could become a great defensive coordinator.

For now, let's hope this defense finds a way to do just enough to help the offense win football games. The future of the Cowboys this season is as uncertain as it could be. They could turn it around easily, or it could go south really fast.

Maybe Rod Marinelli won't be the only change we see in the coaching staff in 2018.

Tell me what you think about "Should Rod Marinelli Be on the Hot Seat?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. ruben perez

    October 12, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Muy Bueno te felicito

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      October 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm

      Gracias, amigo!

  2. Fatfan

    October 13, 2017 at 11:07 am

    I agree, good article…fitting considering. I’ve wondered about Marinelli. I often hear about the wonders he does for a D; but I just wonder about the D. It might be time for a different D Coordinator

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      October 13, 2017 at 11:14 am

      I agree with you. We’ve been talking about how Marinelli doesn’t have talent around him… but I think he does. At least to be better than what they are now. Thanks for reading, my man!

      • Michael Barthel

        October 13, 2017 at 5:09 pm

        Marinelli needs to go!! Every season he has been coordinator our pass defense has been bottom of the league. Our run defense was decent but that was with a healthy Terrell McClain for the first time since he joined Dallas. Now he’s gone and Dallas run defense gets shredded. I honestly wish we would of kept Bruce Carter he was a very good linebacker. But all I’m saying is every since marinelli been with Dallas we have given up alot of yards and have had a very suspect pass rush. I think it’s time for him to go

        • Michael Barthel

          October 13, 2017 at 5:12 pm

          We def have the talent on defense. Brown and Lewis at corner. Smith and Wilson at linebacker. Taco Irving and Lawrence on the line. Jones and woods at safety. I’d like to see them call up Marquez white I’m a Florida State fan and I watched him alot there and the boy can play plus he taller than any of our corners now. White Lewis awuzie and brown could make a great secondary for years to come. White gave up 2 tds at Florida State that’s great stats

          • Mauricio Rodriguez

            Mauricio Rodriguez

            October 14, 2017 at 1:50 pm

            I agree, this defense has more talent than given credit for.

  3. Rodney Alston

    October 14, 2017 at 10:27 am

    I believe it’s time for Rob Marinelli to go. We need a new defensive coordinator that willing to play more man coverage. When we play zone we gave up to many yards. Take look at Morris Clariborne,and Barry Church, they are playing good football. It seem to me every time our player go to another team they shine, why is that. Demarus Ware leaves and get a super bowl ring with Denver Broncos. The bottom line is we need a change because the offense can’t keep carrying the defense.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      October 14, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      I think this Cowboys defense – which has more talent than given credit for – could use a scheme change.

      • Rodney Alston

        October 14, 2017 at 2:28 pm

        I agree the defense has a lot talent, but the student is only as good as the teacher.

  4. Albert Smith

    October 15, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I enjoyed the article but who would we get to come in and replace Marinelli, I have a lot of friends mentioning John Gruden as a head coach replacement but he’d keep Marinelli on so it makes no sense.

    • Michael Barthel

      October 16, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      So with us missing on Navarro bowman why doesn’t Dallas sign perry riley Jr very good run stopper and isn’t that bad in coverage. I say pull the trigger

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Star Blog

Jason Garrett Can’t be Serious About Retaining Scott Linehan, Can He?

Brian Martin

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Jason Garrett Can't be Serious About Retaining Scott Linehan, Can He?

One of the few positives most of us were looking forward to after the Dallas Cowboys Divisional Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams was the fact that Scott Linehan would no longer be the offensive coordinator for America's Team. Everything was pointing to his dismissal, but that may not be the case according to Head Coach Jason Garrett.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Jason Garrett said on 105.3 The Fan that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will return in 2019. "We don't anticipate any significant changes on our staff," Garrett said.

I can't say that I was happy upon learning Jason Garrett plans on retaining Scott Linehan as the Cowboys OC in 2019. In fact, my first thought was… Well, something better left unsaid. I'm sure many of you can kind of read my mind, because I'm pretty positive you had all that the same thoughts running through your head as well.

In all honesty, I didn't think there was a snowball chance in hell Scott Linehan would return to Dallas after the conclusion of the 2018 season. After all, the Cowboys nearly fired him during the bye week earlier this season, meaning his job security was already on thin ice. He didn't do anything to improve things in my opinion.

I know Jason Garrett has said Scott Linehan will return as the OC in 2019, but not for a second do I believe it. We are less than 72 hours hours removed from the Cowboys exit from the playoffs and I highly doubt any of Dallas' decision-makers has had the time to sit down and discuss who stays and who goes. In fact, I know they haven't.

Jeff Cavanaugh on Twitter

Stephen Jones says they won't comment on anything with coaching staff but that they need to take a deep look at why they fell short. Says it a little early to speculate about players or coaches. They haven't had a meeting about it yet.

I think once the Cowboys brass sits down and reevaluates the 2018 season, they will come to the conclusion they can do better than Scott Linehan as their offensive coordinator. There were just too many times throughout the season where the playcalling was a problem just. It's just time to move on, despite the vote of confidence by Jason Garrett.

Of course, this could just be me trying to read between the lines hoping and praying Scott Linehan is finally fired. Like many of you, I've grown way too tired of his predictable and dated playcalling. It's time to move on and find someone more innovative who can maximize the talent the Dallas Cowboys have on the roster, much like Kris Richard did with the defense.

You can either choose to believe Jason Garrett or not. I for one have a hard time seeing the Dallas Cowboys staying status quo with their coaching staff, especially their offensive coordinator. But, only time will tell.

Do you think it's time for the Dallas Cowboys to fire Scott Linehan?



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Star Blog

Cowboys Rammed Out of Playoffs but 2019 is Bright

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Cowboys Rammed Out of Playoffs but 2019 is Bright

If you were to have clicked over to Sportsbook Review, you could have seen what all the premier online sportsbooks were dealing on the Cowboys/Rams game before kickoff. Sites like Bovada, which incidentally you can read a Bovada Review at Sportsbook Review as well, had the Rams favored in every quarter, in both halves, and installed LA as seven-point favorites over Dallas. As is often the case, the number was nearly spot on as the Rams bounced our 'Boys out of the postseason 30-22. It was a heart-wrenching loss for Dallas fans everywhere but for those who put their money where their mouths were, it was particularly painful in what turned out to be a one-point difference between losing and pushing.

Let’s look on the bright side, though. The Cowboys not only copped the division crown but the draft picks from April bore fruit this season. Linebacker and No. 19 overall pick Leighton Vander Esch is a certified stud while third-round pick Michael Gallup proved he is a bona fide NFL receiver. Second-round offensive lineman Connor Williams had difficulties at left guard, but at the very least, has a season under his belt at the next level and could turn into a legitimate bodyguard for Prescott in 2019.

And let’s not forget about the trade for Amari Cooper, which turned Dallas from a squad struggling to find its identity to an NFC East champ in winning seven of its last nine games since Cooper arrived. This year’s edition also bested a tough Seahawks team in the first-round of the playoffs.

Let’s face it, folks, no one expected the Cowboys to win a Super Bowl this season and what we got was about as much as we could have hoped with the current roster as it is presently constructed.

Dak Prescott has one more year on his rookie contract and will be looking to score a big payday at the end of next season, if not sooner. The Cowboys could enter negotiations and lock Prescott up for the foreseeable future, but it might be best for both parties to see what 2019 brings and go from there. Either way, Dallas will pay beaucoup bucks to keep Prescott in a Cowboys uniform so watching and waiting will most likely be the tact management takes with their star quarterback, with a franchise tag in 2020 as an option as well.

In the team’s immediate future will be signing their second-round pick in 2014, DeMarcus Lawrence. The talented defensive end provided the Cowboys with the edge rusher they needed for parts of this season and his combined 25 sacks over the last two seasons would be nearly impossible to replace. Dallas franchised him this season but will most likely put together a long-term deal for Lawrence in the offseason.

Ezekiel Elliott has also reportedly been hinting at his own contract extension even though he is contractually committed to the Cowboys for next season with a team option in '20.

Ironically, one of the strengths of the Dallas Cowboys in recent years was a relatively weak link this season. The offensive line was decimated by injuries and Pro Bowler Travis Frederick missed the entire season. But those wounds will heal for next season and the old gang will be back together again.

The Cowboys have loads of cap space but are without a first-round pick due to the trade for Amari Cooper. Nevertheless, the young blood on the team looks poised to contribute for many years and there will be money available to woo free agents to a club now viewed as a legitimate contender.

If you want to look at next season’s odds, make sure to educate yourself on which online sportsbooks are the most reputable, trusted, and reliable. Read the Bovada Review over at SBR and see what customers are saying about one of the industry’s top sportsbooks. Then, when the lines come out on next season’s division, conference, and Super Bowl winners, you can be informed and maybe throw a few bucks on the 'Boys from Dallas!



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Star Blog

Cowboys’ Window Depends On Maximizing, And Helping, Dak Prescott

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Future Hinges Heavily On Dak Prescott And Their Future Offensive Coordinator

Saturday night's Division Round loss was met with mixed reaction among Cowboys Nation.

Some fans, claiming they are the rational ones who hold the Cowboys to a higher standard, believe this might end up being their best chance at a Super Bowl for some time. The young players this roster is built around will only get older and more expensive as the years go by, and 2018 ends with yet another Jason Garrett-led playoff loss.

Other fans, claiming they are the rational ones, said that Dallas accomplished a lot this season, climbing back from a 3-5 start to win the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a competitive game to one of the league's best. This group believes that the Cowboys championship window is as open as it has been in years, with young talent galore on Dallas' roster.

Whether this is true, however, hinges on the shoulders of two individuals. One of which, ironically, hasn't even been named yet and the other a source of constant debate among those same segmented fans.

Those people, of course, are quarterback Dak Prescott and whoever ends up as the offensive coordinator in 2019.

Dak Prescott is a good quarterback.

Let's start there. I firmly believe that Dak Prescott did enough during his third season to earn the contract extension he will likely receive from the Cowboys within one of the next two offseasons. Especially once the Cowboys acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Clearly, Prescott is far from "perfect" is a passer. He makes mistakes in decision making, he sails some throws, and he sometimes exhibits inconsistent footwork when the pocket breaks down. But we focus too much on his mistakes while simply glossing over his accomplishments, talents, and upside.

Not only is Dak Prescott someone that the team responds to and believes in, but he is also a good football player. Prescott finished the 2018 season 12th in total Expected Points Added, ahead of quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and Baker Mayfield. He's also finished 3rd and 4th in raw QBR during his first two seasons in the NFL respectively. And, despite his slow start to 2018, Dak Prescott ended his third season on the best run of games in terms of QBR he has ever had.

Prescott is improving, and this is evident each week. He played more comfortably in the pocket over the last 6 games of the season, panicking less, taking fewer dumb sacks, and abandoning his technique fewer and fewer. And, while he doesn't run as often as many would like, the times Prescott does carry the ball often change drives and games.

And while I despise "QB Wins" as a determining statistic, the fact remains that bad quarterbacks don't win at the rate Dak Prescott does. Three straight winning seasons has been rare in Dallas over the last 15 years, and Prescott orchestrated this his first three seasons as a starter.

Passing Wins Championships.

Though very different than the old cliche, this appears more accurate by the season. The final four teams remaining in the NFL are each top 5 in passing DVOA, while not a single one has a top 10 defense by DVOA.

Neither the Chiefs nor the Rams have had a good run defense at all this season, but stopping the run doesn't matter as much as stopping the pass most weeks in today's NFL. I know this sounds absurd after the Cowboys run defense got abused by Los Angeles, but the numbers often bear this out.

The Cowboys have to do everything in their power to aid Dak Prescott and the passing offense this offseason. They need to draft another pass catcher, preferably with their second round pick. They need to continue to improve the chemistry between Prescott, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.

And, maybe most importantly, they need to hire an offensive coordinator who can maximize this passing game.

Scott Linehan simply is not the answer. And if the Cowboys are going to make the most out of whatever title window they may have, the offensive play caller will be the most critical man in the building going forward.

Unfortunately, latest reports point to Linehan returning in 2019.



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