I'm on record saying that Monte Kiffin should not return as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator in 2014.
The Cowboys allowed the most yards in franchise history, saw four quarterbacks throw for 400 yards against them, saw five quarterbacks have four-touchdown games against them and allowed 388 first downs, the most in franchise history. I could add a few more stats, but you get the picture.
It wasn't pretty for Kiffin.
Then why do I want to turn over the defensive coordinator job to somebody on the staff?
Oh, I'm not talking about Rod Marinelli, the defensive line coach. He did a terrific job as the Chicago Bears coordinator under Lovie Smith. He made it work well enough this year with seemingly a new defensive lineman coming in every week. He is a ball coach.
But I'm going with linebackers coach Matt Eberflus as the next coordinator.
He relayed Kiffin's calls into Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Justin Durant and DeVonte Holloman, or whoever was healthy and available to take his calls. He had to deal with a ton of injuries during the year as well, losing Lee, Carter, Durant, Ernie Sims and Holloman. He was able to teach Kyle Wilber to play strongside linebacker on the fly late in the season, and Wilber performed well.
Eberflus has never been a coordinator in the NFL, but that doesn't matter much to me. He was Missouri's defensive coordinator from 2001-08 before joining Rob Ryan as the linebackers coach with the Cleveland Browns.
He followed Ryan to the Cowboys in 2011. The Cowboys made sure he did not leave last year when a couple of teams were seeking permission to speak with him about other vacancies.
To me, Eberflus offers a blend of styles needed in the NFL today.
Kiffin was too stubborn in his zone-coverage principles. When Kiffin took over last year, he told his defenders to study what the Seattle Seahawks did, especially with their corners. The skill level might not be the same, but did the Cowboys secondary play like Seattle’s?
The Cowboys rarely used a dime package (six defensive backs) all season and did so only because of injuries. They were lit up by quarterbacks of all levels. Quarterbacks completed 64.7 percent of their passes against the Cowboys, which is a ridiculous figure even when the rules favor the offense so much.
Eberflus' experience in a 4-3 defense predates his time with the Cowboys. While at Missouri, he spent time with Lovie Smith when Smith was with the St. Louis Rams. He had to learn a lot from Kiffin and Marinelli as well in 2013. With Ryan, he learned the 3-4 scheme and different packages.
If Ryan went too far with the amount of things he tried to implement and Kiffin did not go far enough, then Eberflus can bring that balance.
Heck, as long as he would bring a dime defense, that would be an upgrade.