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Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Rod Marinelli plans more man coverage

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas -- When the Dallas Cowboys made the move to the Tampa 2 scheme last year under Monte Kiffin, many people wondered how cornerbacks Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick would fit.

The trio is viewed as better man-to-man corners than zone.

For a ton of reasons, the Cowboys defense was bad in 2013. Historically bad. The secondary was not up to snuff and the Cowboys could not affect the quarterback enough.

Out is Monte Kiffin as coordinator. In is Rod Marinelli, who has run largely the same system as Kiffin but with some differences. Marinelli used more single-high safety looks while with the Chicago Bears, than two deep safeties.

He plans on allowing Carr, Scandrick and Claiborne to play more man in 2014.

"These guys are really good man corners," Marinelli said. "They can go up and get you and press you. They really add something to the defensive package."

Bears cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings made the Pro Bowl under Marinelli, but their skill set is different.

"They were solid," Marinelli said. "They were good, but they were really good Cover 2 guys and physical, but they could play man also. These guys are like them a lot. They're really good outside man cover (guys)."

Last year Carr and Claiborne asked to play more man coverage but they didn't get to play it as much as they wanted. And they did not play it well enough to inspire confidence in the coaches to use more man coverage.

"We have to go out during practice and stuff like that and show those guys we're able to come back to the line constantly and line up man-to-man constantly, each and every play, to give those guys some comfort in us," Claiborne said.

So far in the organized team activities, Claiborne said the Cowboys have played more man.

"We've got three good corners that can go up and play with anybody," Claiborne said. "When you have those types of weapons on your team, you have to use them. I don't know how much man or what we'll actually be in, but I know we'll be in a good majority of it."

If they can play it well, then that will help Marinelli make adjustments with a pass rush that will be more about a committee than reliant on one or two players.

"You can add maybe a few more guys to the rush or you can buy some time for the rush," Marinelli said. "Those are all good things."