Improved Defense Lands Marinelli 3-Year Deal; Linehan Promoted To Off. Coordinator

IRVING, Texas – While the Cowboys will indeed have a new offensive coordinator in title, it's safe to say the continuity on both sides of the ball should be rather unchanged in 2015.

The Cowboys were able to retain both Rod Marinelli as the team's defensive coordinator, signing him to a three-year contract. They also re-signed Scott Linehan to a three-year deal by promoting him from passing game coordinator to offensive coordinator.

The OC title was held by Bill Callahan, who also served as the offensive line coach for the past three years. Callahan, whose contract expired after the season, has accepted an offensive line coaching position with the NFC East rival Redskins.

But keeping Marinelli and Linehan appeared to be the top priorities for the Cowboys all along.

While Jones didn't go as far to say Marinelli and Linehan were the highest-paid coordinators in the league, the owner acknowledged they are both compensated rather well.

"There's a little bit of ambiguity … if he's not he's right there with the top two or three," Jones said when asked about Marinelli. "I think he is one of the top and I know Scott is as well. Both of these guys will be right there in the handful of top coordinators. And I would say I expected that."

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Linehan, who served as the Lions offensive coordinator for five years before moving to Dallas, called the plays this past season. The Cowboys finished with the seventh-best offense in the NFL and ranked second in rushing. Garrett, who coached with Linehan on the Dolphins' staff in 2005-06, said his presence allowed him to be the "walk-around head coach" that Jones has been wanting to see.

"Scott is just a great football coach," Garrett said. "The opportunity that we had as an organization to bring him back I thought that was significant. He allowed me to get away from the offense more than I had in the past because of the confidence level I had in him I thought he did great job coming in here and dealing with the staff that was in place, a system that was in place, a lot of players who knew how to do things a certain way, all that stuff in place and did a great job kind of maximizing the way it was - the people, the system and then adding to it. And making it better."

As for Marinelli, it goes without saying how well he did with a defense that ranked dead last in 2013. The defense ranked 19th in the NFL this season and ninth in turnover margin.

 "Rod's just done a fantastic job not only for our defense but our whole football team," Garrett said. "He made our players better. He made our coaches better. He's just a great football coach and he's a great person to have in your organization. He represents all the right things and I thought the defense played remarkably well. We had a lot of questions coming into this season and we had some injuries and at every turn that group just continued to overcome the different adversities that cropped up and handled the situations well and played very well."

There was plenty of talk throughout the season that Marinelli might leave for Tampa Bay, a place he has coached in the past. His friendship and connection with Bucs head coach Lovie Smith was expected to be a major factor in Marinelli's decision. And while the Bucs apparently made some contact to acquire Marinelli, the Cowboys were able to become the more attractive location at the end of the day.

Garrett is locked up for five years. Linehan and Marinelli now for three, with other coaches to follow.

It appears the staff is set. Now the Cowboys can start to turn their attention towards retaining their players.

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