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Cowboys demote coordinator Kiffin

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The Dallas Cowboys demoted Monte Kiffin, who was the team’s defensive coordinator this past season, and they promoted Rod Marinelli to defensive coordinator on Tuesday.

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Kiffin was given a new title — assistant head coach/defense.

The Cowboys switched from the 3-4 to the 4-3 scheme when Kiffin was hired last year, but they finished last in the NFL in defense. The Cowboys allowed the most yards in franchise history and the second-most points in franchise history.

Injuries to key players played a role in Dallas’ poor defensive showing, but Kiffin is the one who took the hit.

Marinelli was the Cowboys’ defensive line coach this past season, and he was the Chicago Bears defensive coordinator for three years, from 2010 to 2012.

The Bears forced the most fumbles (59), intercepted the third-most passes (65) and scored the most defensive touchdowns (13) and allowed the fourth-fewest points in those three years.

“Rod Marinelli’s production in terms of creating turnovers and changing field position as a defensive coordinator is well documented,” coach Jason Garrett said in a statement from the Cowboys. “Monte Kiffin’s overall knowledge and understanding of this defensive scheme will be put to use in mentoring all of the players and coaches on the defensive side of the ball. Monte was brought here to direct a transition in philosophy to the 4-3 scheme, and he will continue to oversee the development of our defense in this scheme.”

This week the Cowboys also named Scott Linehan their passing game coordinator.

He will take over the offensive play-calling from Bill Callahan, who will still hold the title of offensive coordinator/offensive line title. The Cowboys were fifth in the league in scoring last season and played their final regualr season game with Tony Romo, who undwent back surgery after Week 16.

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