Is It Time For Kiffin To Go?

Monte Kiffin has been the head defensive guy for a lot of teams which isn’t that surprising since the man is 73 years old. He has been coaching in some capacity since 1966, which means he has been coaching longer than most us have been alive.  He started at his Alma Mater the University of Nebraska in 1966 and hasn’t taken one season off since. He has been a coach for 12 different teams (five different universities and seven NFL teams) in his 47 years coaching.

As bad as this defense for the Cowboys have played this year, they aren’t 2012 New Orleans Saints bad. The Saints gave up a total of 7,042 yards and the Cowboys are on pace to allow 6,830 which is 212 yards shy of the NFL record mark for futility.  Where they are comparable are the turnover numbers and points allowed. The Saints allowed 28 points per game while the Cowboys allow 27 points per game. The Saints forced 26 turnovers that season and the Cowboys have forced 25 through 13 games.

Rob Ryan was fired after two seasons in Dallas and went on to New Orleans where he seems to have cleaned up the mess that was left. In his first season he has not surrendered a 475+ yard game and only twice has an offense accumulated over 400 yards. They have also dropped their 28 points per game allowed average to 19. It is fair to say that maybe Rob Ryan wasn’t the problem here. When Ryan was in Dallas his defense gave up 22 and 25 points per game.

In terms of how bad the Cowboys are this season; their defense has given up six 475+ yard games in which they have a 1-5 record. In the last two years of the Ryan led defense they only had three such performances. In terms of 400+ yard games Kiffin’s defense has allowed this feat seven times to Ryans seven times in two seasons in Dallas.

Going back to 1995 to present, Kiffin’s defenses don’t perform at the same level they used to. While yes the game has changed from an offensive perspective, it hasn’t changed so much that the Tampa 2 scheme is outdated. From 1995-2008 Kiffin’s defenses allowed 475 yards only twice and 400 yards or more 28 times which is less than two per season. Since leaving Tampa Bay in 2008 those number have taken a turn for the worst.

In 2009 Kiffin left Tampa to join his son at the University of Tennessee which lasted all of one season. During that year the defense had only one 475 yard performance but four 400 yard or more performances. Then from 2010 till 2012 he had eight 475 yard performances and an astounding 14 400 yard or more performances. In five of those games the defense gave up more than 500 yards and even 730 yards against the University of Oregon.

It looks as if the game has passed Monte Kiffin by and it may be time for Kiffin to call it a career. There is no doubt that this man should be considered a Hall of Fame coach. The innovator of the Tampa 2 has changed the way the NFL plays defense. While I respect the man’s contribution to the NFL, the Cowboys are worse off with him calling the defensive plays.

Team Year 475+ yard games 400+ yard games Yards/Game Points/Game TO
Vikings 1991 0 2 313.5 19.1 28
Saints 1995 1 5 347.6 21.8 29
Buccaneers 1996 0 1 269.8 18.3 29
Buccaneers 1997 0 0 273.5 16.4 26
Buccaneers 1998 0 1 297.1 18.4 26
Buccaneers 1999 0 0 265.9 14.7 31
Buccaneers 2000 0 2 290.6 17.2 41
Buccaneers 2001 0 2 293.4 17.5 39
Buccaneers 2002 0 2 312.6 12.3 38
Buccaneers 2003 0 2 340.8 16.5 33
Buccaneers 2004 0 2 310.2 19.0 27
Buccaneers 2005 0 1 294.8 17.1 30
Buccaneers 2006 1 3 270.1 22.1 20
Buccaneers 2007 0 2 326.8 16.9 35
Buccaneers 2008 0 3 341.0 20.2 30
Tennessee 2009 1 4 318.8 22.2 24
USC 2010 4 5 400.1 26.7 26
USC 2011 2 3 374.8 23.6 17
USC 2012 2 6 394.0 24.3 32
Cowboys 2013 6 7 426.8 26.8 25