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Monte Kiffin named Dallas Cowboys D-coordinator

The Dallas Cowboys hired a big "name" as their defensive coordinator two years ago in Rob Ryan. That didn't work to owner Jerry Jones' satisfaction, so he found a bigger name.

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The Cowboys announced Friday that former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is their defensive coordinator. Kiffin, 72, left USC after a disastrous run serving under his son, Lane.

The Godfather of the Tampa 2 defense, Kiffin knows how to win in the NFL. But this move still doesn't make a lot of sense to us. The Cowboys have the framework for a very successful 3-4 defense in place. Kiffin's approach is diametrically opposed.

The Cowboys just drafted Morris Claiborne, a cornerback who specializes in press man coverage. They just signed Brandon Carr to a huge contract; he's also great in man coverage. Orlando Scandrick is best in man coverage. Kiffin's 4-3 scheme relies on cornerbacks to play zone coverage. One of the big benefits of the system is that they look for cornerbacks with less sought-after skill sets that you can take later in the draft.

Sean Lee is one of the best inside linebackers in a 3-4 scheme. He is far from the prototype in Kiffin's scheme. Bruce Carter also was an excellent 3-4 inside linebacker.


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Maybe Kiffin can make all the pieces on the defensive line, like DeMarcus Ware, work. We don't doubt Kiffin's coaching acumen.

We doubt Jones' decision to completely change directions when defense was not the problem for the Cowboys when healthy.

The Cowboys spent a lot of money last offseason on players for Rob Ryan's defense. The defense now is gone, and the players won't fit the same.

By hiring Kiffin, Dallas is only creating more areas to fix.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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