IRVING, Texas – Most people know more about the relationship between defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli than the one between Marinelli and the Cowboys' new special teams coach.
Rich Bisaccia and Marinelli spent four years together on the coaching staff in Tampa Bay and would describe each other similarly as they reconvene in Dallas.
"Just a high energy coach, Marinelli said of Bisaccia. "Players will gravitate toward him. You've just got to make sure you unplug him once in a while."
Marinelli called Bisaccia a "livewire," but the way Bisaccia describes it, Marinelli may need to look in the mirror, as well.
"Did he get to describe himself, too?" Bisaccia asked. "He's a livewire. Rod's a livewire. I'd like to think that Rod's an older version of me. I work diligently every day to be as close to Rod Marinelli as I possibly can. He's a plethora of wisdom for me and has been even when I left Tampa."
The connection between Bisaccia and Marinelli stayed constant even after Marinelli left Tampa Bay in 2006 to become the head coach in Detroit. Bisaccia, 11 years younger than Marinelli, always valued every piece of advice given to him from the defensive coach.
They kept in touch on the phone, and Bisaccia remembers one specific meeting between the two coaches when Marinelli returned to Tampa to visit his daughter.
"I thought I was going over to have a cup of coffee," Bisaccia said. "I have two notebooks of the three-hour cup of coffee that we had. I'm fortunate to be back with Rod, and certainly be with Monte, but my respect for Rod and the way he coaches on the field and his demeanor and the way he handles his meetings, I've learned so much from him. Whatever he said about me, I'm going to try to live up to it. If that's what I am, then that's great. I'm going to do that the best I can."
Bisaccia said the trio of former Tampa Bay coaches should make for a strong group because of their shared beliefs about playing with passion, energy and getting to the football.
"The three of us love football," he said." I've been married to the same gal for 29 years. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I have ball and I go home. This is my hobby, it's my passion, it's a calling to some degree, and really those two guys are the same way. Our joy of what we get to do for a living I think comes out on the practice field, and I think it's pretty evident to players and other coaches."