Marinelli to Ware: 'Close but no cigar'

IRVING, Texas – Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Rod Marinelli has earned a reputation as a hard-driving, no-nonsense kind of coach.

However, Marinelli has a sense of humor. In fact, it’s on display in defensive end DeMarcus Ware’s Valley Ranch locker.

A cigar is taped to a piece of paper that was hung in Ware’s locker this week. Marinelli wrote a message that reads, “Close but no cigar,” and is signed, “Your loving coach.”

It was a reference to the fact that, after the coaches reviewed film of the season-opening victory over the New York Giants, Ware was credited with six quarterback pressures yet recorded no sacks in the game.

“Close but no cigar -- that’s one thing he always says,” said Ware, who has 111 sacks in his career. “Get in there quicker, try to worry about getting pressure on the quarterback, getting there faster. That’s why he stuck it in my locker. It’s actually funny to me. It’s a joke. He taunts me a little bit.”

That’s Marinelli’s way of lighting a fire under one of the most productive pass-rushers in NFL history.