Dallas’ decision to fire Rob Ryan and bring in Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator has been met with optimism from some Cowboys fans, but those fans may want to backpedal a bit when they hear what ex-Colts/Bucs coach Tony Dungy had to say about Kiffin’s outlook in Big D (via Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News):
“Monte Kiffin is a great coach..But if they (Dallas) want to go to this system, it will take a couple of years to get the right pieces to this puzzle. To get the 4-3 front personnel and the defensive backs tailored to play this system is going to take a few drafts.”
Dungy knows a few things about Kiffin’s “Tampa 2” 4-3 defense since Kiffin was Dungy’s defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay. Dungy went on to say that Dallas needs three specific players (who are “hard to find” in his opinion) if they want to have success under Kiffin: an active defensive tackle who commands a double-team (see Warren Sapp in Tampa Bay), a weakside linebacker who can run in space and defend the pass (Derrick Brooks in Tampa Bay), and a safety who contributes in run support and has the speed to take away half of the field in Cover 2 zone (John Lynch in Tampa Bay).
Seeing as how I don’t see a Sapp, Brooks or Lynch on the Cowboys’ current roster, Dungy’s point about Dallas needing a couple of drafts to make the 4-3 work may be right on. Whether Jerry Jones will be patient enough to wait is the question.