Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli remains under contract with the Dallas Cowboys through the 2014 season. But multiple reports have the 64-year-old linked to the Tampa Bay defensive coordinator opening.
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones was guarded when talking about that topic Friday morning.
"We don’t get into any of those kinds of things, communicate between clubs about interviews or requests," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. "As you well know in the NFL, we’re pretty strong with our agreements between each other, between the players and the teams and the coaches and the teams. Only under certain exceptions would you get involved with a coach you have under contract for an interview."
If Marinelli was to leave and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is fired, the worst defense in the franchise’s history could be in for some serious changes.
Could that include switching back to the 3-4 scheme?
"No," Jones simply replied.
The Cowboys owner seems to think the current 4-3 scheme will be just fine if the team can get a little luck in the injury department.
"It’s an excuse, but for you not to look over there on your defense and see how your injuries impacted this team this year is not being realistic," Jones said. "I think that when we line up for our OTAs, our work that we have in the spring, all those players that weren’t on the field for us as we went through the fall, we’re a better team right there. I expect us to be a better team because of being more familiar with what we’re doing defensively."
Of course, to successfully run a 4-3 scheme your defensive line must put pressure on the quarterback. The Cowboys’ best player in that area over the last seven years has been defensive end DeMarcus Ware. But at 31, Ware is coming off his worst statistical season, finishing with six sacks and 40 tackles in 13 games.
What does Jones think the seven-time Pro Bowler’s future is with the Cowboys?
"I couldn’t comment about any player under contract, their status," Jones said. "And certainly, you can imagine the sensitivity that would be involved. You must hear me say this, there’s no one that I think, when healthy, is any more effective for us as a defensive player than DeMarcus Ware. Probably where you start on your entire defensive scheme is with your pressure player, so he plays a key role for us."