Cowboys defenders want Rod Marinelli to stay

IRVING, Texas – Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli did not want to talk as he walked through the team’s Valley Ranch practice facility on Monday.

Marinelli’s defenders, however, spoke of their wish that he remain with the Cowboys. Pro Football Talk reported Marinelli is “expected to” join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, perhaps as defensive coordinator under Lovie Smith.

On 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Monday morning, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the team has “every intention” of keeping Marinelli as the coordinator. Marinelli has an immense amount of loyalty to Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith, whom he worked for from 2009-12 with the Chicago Bears.

“Tell him he better stay here, man,” defensive end Jeremy Mincey said. “I got so much respect for Coach Rod, man. If he did leave, I would still be happy for him, but we definitely want him here. We got a lot of love and respect for him. He coaches the game the right way and he’s one of the greatest to do it.”

Marinelli just finished his second year with the Cowboys but his first as their defensive coordinator. He still coached the defensive linemen, but his work with the entire defense was praiseworthy.

Viewed as potentially one of the worst defenses at the start of the season in NFL history, Marinelli cobbled together a group that finished 19th in yards (355.1) and 15th in points per game (22) despite not having a Pro Bowler.

Mincey led the Cowboys with six sacks and linebacker Bruce Carter had a team-high five interceptions. Younger players such as defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford and safety J.J. Wilcox came on and he got the best out of linebacker Rolando McClain, a former first round pick who retired twice after a poor stint with the Oakland Raiders.

“We have a special thing brewing with all our pieces that are in this building right now for a defense,” cornerback Brandon Carr said. “It takes some time for the chemistry to come around and the guys to get and for the expectations to be recognized on both ends with coaches and players. This is the second year of the defense. Marinelli was here last year and you can say we stayed within the framework of our defense, but we have something special brewing.”