Rod Marinelli has experienced the highest of highs—a Super Bowl victory while assisting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—and the lowest of lows—an 0-16 campaign as head coach of the 2008 Detroit Lions.
Seven years later, the now-Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator considers the winless season a learning experience as well as something he was “fortunate” to endure, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports.
Come again, coach?
Wetzel notes Marinelli stuck to relentlessly teaching and preaching fundamentals, which had previously worked wonderfully in Tampa en route to Super Bowl XXXVII. That philosophy eventually paid off with the Chicago Bears—his first stop after being fired—and is helping Dallas improve what was the league’s defense in 2013.
“I left [Detroit] and it worked again in Chicago and I came here and we’re getting going. I always look for the positive and I always respect football. The worst thing you can do in football is bury your head. I just won’t do that.”
During year one of Marinelli’s tenure, Dallas surrendered 355 yards per game, a 60-yard drop from the season prior and good enough for 19th in the league. Additionally, the Cowboys allowed 22 points last season, a five-point improvement from 2013.
Oft-injured linebacker Sean Lee (hopefully) returns to a defense that also added edge-rusher Randy Gregory and cornerback Byron Jones, so Marinelli’s unit could rise the NFL’s rankings even further this season.
Coaching through an 0-16 campaign couldn’t have been easy, and Marinelli deserves credit for moving past Detroit’s historically bad year.
Plus, if Dallas’ high-powered offense fulfills its potential while the defense offers enough support, Marinelli could experience the highest of highs once again.
Photo: USA Today Sports