You really have to admire Monte Kiffin, the former Vikings assistant under Jerry Burns and Dennis Green.
Sure he's a top-flight defensive football coach, maybe even a genius, the mind behind the Tampa 2 defense. But then he goes to work for his son Lane. And now, his patience will surely get tested as he takes on the monumental task of leading the Dallas Cowboys defense. (I'd say rebuilding, but was it ever built in the first place?)
So not only do you have all the eyes of the Lone Star State upon you. (No offense, Houston Texans.) But then your boss is ... Jerry Jones.
At least the 72-year-old Kiffin has down pat the straightforward skills needed for life in Dallas. When Kiffin announced that he was leaving the Trojans and hoping to head back to the NFL, the Orange County Register asked if he would miss coaching with his son. The answer? "Um, no, not really," with a laugh.
They were display again in the statement from Kiffin released by the Cowboys:
“I came away from the interview process with Jason [Garrett] with a feeling that Dallas is the right place to be. He has this team headed in the right direction. They’re close, and I am confident that there are quality pieces in place for us to be able to get the job done.”
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has praise for Kiffin from his former boss, Gophers star and, before head coaching greatness, former Vikings assistant Tony Dungy, who also had a question for the Cowboys:
"Monte is a great coach," Dungy said Friday. "My question is: Are they going to do what their personnel dictates or are they going to change and go to Monte’s system and kind of what he grown these last couple of decades? That’ll be the big thing they’re going to have to do."
One of Kiffin's first moves looks to be switching the Cowboys from a 3-4 to a 4-3 alignment. The Star-Telegram says that would mean finding a strongside linebacker and moving DeMarcus Ware from outside linebacker to defensive end. "Rushing the passer every down would likely put more wear and tear on him, and it would signal the end of his dropping into coverage," the Star-Telegram says.
The Dallas Morning News rates Kiffin's defenses and their generally above-average results, even against the run, which might be especially important in the NFC East.
For a defensive coordinator known for his Cover 2 looks, Kiffin’s ranks in run defense are excellent. In general, run defense and pass defense are often inversely correlated; when a defense plays with two deep safeties, their run defense will suffer, and if they move a safety into the box to stop the run, their pass defense will suffer. If the Cowboys can maintain a league-average run defense in Kiffin’s scheme, that’s a win.
The Morning News also calls the move to a 4-3 "more of a nip here and tuck there than a complete facelift" for the Cowboys. Ahead of Kiffin's hiring, the Cowboys' website already had mapped out how the Tampa 2 might work with current Dallas personnel.
But the Morning News also notes that the defense requires solid fundamentals, something that seemed a bit lacking under Rob Ryan, who more than 5 minutes later after his firing is still unemployed.
This doesn't meet traditional journalism standards and it falls short of 100 percent certainty, but a tweet by FOX Sports analyst and former coach Jimmy Johnson is the basis for a Chicago Tribune story about the chances of former Gophers quarterback and St. Louis Park native Marc Trestman's chances of getting the Chicago Bears coaching job.
Early Friday morning, Johnson tweeted:
Looks like 2 of my guys getting NFL jobs..Chud Cleveland and my QB coach at U Trestman to Chicago— Jimmy Johnson (@JimmyJohnson) January 11, 2013
Translation: "Chud" is Rob Chudzinski, who was introduced Friday as the new coaching of the Cleveland Browns. Trestman was Johnson's quarterback coach at the University of Miami, known as "the U" to those who don't know Minnesota as "the U." He is the head coach of the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes, who have won three of that league's last five titles.
Chicago Tribune football writer Brad Biggs wrote: "A Bears spokesman declined comment, saying the team would maintain the policy it adopted when the coaching search process began."
Biggs also wrote: "Now, Johnson did not specify Trestman was specifically coming to the Bears as head coach. It is possible he could be considered for another role but [general manager Phil] Emery is on the road looking for the team’s next head coach, not in an effort to hire the offensive coordinator for his next coach."
You can read the full Chicago Tribune report here.
A Canadian Press story Friday morning said: "An Alouettes spokesman said the CFL club had no comment about Johnson’s tweet."
Trestman graduated from St. Louis Park in 1974 and was at the University of Minnesota for three years before transferring to Minnesota State-Moorhead. He became a much-traveled NFL and college assistant coach, including two stints as a Vikings assistant, once as running backs coach and once as quarterbacks coach.
In 2007, he was named coach of the Alouettes.
Vikings punter Chris Kluwe explained football and his support for gay marriage Tuesday night on the Colbert report.
"If you're into a frank discussion of kicking things," host Stephen Colbert told his audience, "don't touch that dial."
When Colbert mentioned the Vikings' wild-card loss to Green Bay, complete with lutefisk reference, Kluwe explained: "In my defense, I played well. Unfortunately, when I play well, that's usually a sign that the team isn't playing well."
That's all we're telling you, aside from how impressed Upload was with the stocking cap and shower thongs ensemble that Kluwe chose for the show. Watch the rest here:
Some football boosters weren't happy when St. John's in Collegeville chose to stay in-house and promote defensive coordinator Gary Fasching to the head football coaching job, replacing the legendary John Gagliardi, who retired after 60 years at the school.
Many were hoping the job would go to Eden Prairie High coach Mike Grant, a Johnnies alum and the son of former Vikings coach Bud Grant.
Others weren't happy that St. John's didn't look far enough outside the school -- that a more dramatic move was needed to regain equal footing with MIAC powerhouse St. Thomas, and to get back ahead of several other schools in the conference that have improved their programs in recent years.
If you doubt the distress, click here to see the comments on the Star Tribune story after Fasching got the job.
Fasching will on the St. Cloud Daily Times web site at 1:30 p.m. to answer questions from Johnnies fans.
Will there be mayhem?
Click here to find out. If you miss the chat, you'll be able to click on the link to read a replay afterward.
Sunday's Los Angeles Times features a story about gay athletes and how they still feel unwelcome in most pro sports locker rooms.
Kevin Baxter of the Times wrote: "Consider the numbers. About 4,000 players spent time on active rosters in the NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball in 2012. With the best estimates of the gay/bisexual population in U.S. ranging from 2% to 10%, it's likely many of those 4,000 athletes are gay or bisexual. Yet not one has come out of the closet. Not this year, not last year, not ever."
Former Twins and Los Angeles outfielder Torii Hunter said he believed an athlete who came out could divide a team.
Hunter, who recently signed with Detroit, said: "For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it's not right. It will be difficult and uncomfortable."
On Twitter this morning, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe responded:
Saw the Torii Hunter comments. It's sad when people take something founded on tolerance and turn it into bigotry. Says a lot about them.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) December 31, 2012
and followed with
Torii would also do well to remember that religion was used to deny black people their rights not too long ago. Have a little empathy.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) December 31, 2012
Hunter took exception with how his comments are being characterized, saying in a extended tweet:
"I'm very disappointed in Kevin Baxter's article in which my quotes and feelings have been misrepresented. He took two completely separate quotes and made them into one quote that does not express how I feel as a Christian or a human being.
"I have love and respect for all human beings regardless of race, color or sexual orientation. I am not perfect and try hard to live the best life I can and treat all people with respect. If you know me you know that I am not anti anything and to be portrayed as anti-gay in this article is hurtful and just not true."
Kluwe was among the highest-profile public figures campaigning in Minnesota's successful Vote No campaign in November, and a few weeks back was sharply criticized by Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer for the "distractions" caused by Kluwe.
The subject came up after Kluwe was fined for taping the words "Vote Ray Guy" to his uniform in support of the former punter's Hall of Fame chances. But it was clear that Priefer wasn't solely talking about the Guy issue.
Kluwe was unfazed by the criticism, saying at the time: "If the team ever wants to replace me, they will; I'm under no delusions as to how this business operates. We all get cut eventually."
You can read the entire Los Angeles Times story here.
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