Larry Lacewell on Monte Kiffin: Best hire Cowboys ever made
|Ben and Skin discuss their encounter with Jerry Jones at a local barbecue restaurant. |
Lacewell, the former Cowboys scouting director who remains a member of Jerry’s unofficial advisory committee, readily admits that he has a “man crush” on the 72-year-old Kiffin. The Cowboys met with Kiffin at Valley Ranch on Thursday, and Lacewell assumes his old friend will officially become Rob Ryan’s replacement soon. (UPDATE: Sources said the deal is done.)
“Frankly, I think it’s the best hire the Cowboys have ever made,” Lacewell told ESPNDallas.com on Friday morning. “Well, other than Jimmy [Johnson].”
Lacewell completely dismisses the mediocre results Kiffin got as the defensive coordinator on his son Lane’s USC staff, saying Kiffin did the best he could do despite talent issues that stem in part from NCAA-sanctioned recruiting restrictions. Lacewell, who visited USC last summer during an off day in the Cowboys’ training camp, said Kiffin is as passionate and energetic as ever.
In other words, Lacewell believes Kiffin is still the same guy whose defenses were dominant during his 13-year tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kiffin was considered a legendary NFL defensive coordinator when he left Tampa to join his son in the college ranks.
Tampa Bay ranked among the NFL’s top 10 in scoring defense 11 times and total defense 12 times under Kiffin. The Bucs were top five in both categories six times, including a double No. 1 overall rank during their Super Bowl championship season.
“To fall into Monte Kiffin is just a gift,” said Lacewell, who used Kiffin as a sounding board when Mike Zimmer copied his scheme with the Cowboys. “To pull this off is just a coup. Whoever thought of this was real smart.”
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Jerry Jones' recent comments, Cowboys OTAs, Dez Bryant and more.
Play Podcast Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Tony Romo news and what he will be watching for in OTAs.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his comments on how Jason Garrett should handle being on the hot seat and not let Jerry Jones get in the way.
Play Podcast Cowboys safety Barry Church joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the new defensive scheme and the impact it will have on him, how much more intense he expects practice to be with Monte Kiffin and his expectations.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news, including Jason Garrett downplaying Tony Romo's involvement in offensive planning and play calling.
Play Podcast John Lynch joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss playing for Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, why Cowboys fans should be excited about the new defensive staff, why Valley Ranch will no longer resemble a country club and his thoughts on the Cowboys' roster.
Play Podcast Herm Edwards joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news and give his take on what new face will make the biggest impact for Dallas.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what he saw at the Cowboys' rookie minicamp and how he helped Rod Marinelli on the defensive side of the ball.