By Matthew Postins
Both the Dallas Morning News and ESPN reported Kiffin’s appearance at Valley Ranch.
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones created the opening on Tuesday when he fired Rob Ryan after two seasons as coordinator.
Kiffin, 72, who most recently worked for his son, Lane, as the defensive coordinator at USC, resigned from the Trojans after the 2012 season, saying he wanted to pursue a job in the NFL.
Hiring Kiffin would represent a coup for the Cowboys, as Kiffin is considered one of the game’s great defensive minds, on the same level as coordinators like Pittsburgh’s Dick LeBeau.
It would also represent a paradigm shift defensively for the organization, which has played a 3-4 defense since 2005. Kiffin runs a 4-3 and helped popularize the Cover 2 version of that formation. Kiffin and then-head coach Tony Dungy helped turn their version, the Tampa 2, into one of the most feared defenses in the NFL.
Kiffin was the defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay from 1996-2008. Eleven times his defenses were in the NFL’s Top 10 in total defense and scoring defense, a NFL record. During that time the Buccaneers won a Super Bowl in 2002, a season in which the Bucs led the NFL in total defense, scoring defense and interceptions.
Also, in a taped interview to air later this week on KTVT-TV, Jones mentioned that part of his logic for making changes in the coaching staff was his team’s performance in games early this season before the team suffered a myriad of injuries. Jones mentioned the Seattle and Chicago games in the two-minute clip, and though he didn’t mention Ryan by name, the implication was that the team’s performances in those games mattered as much as performances later in the season.
Against Seattle Dallas lost, 27-7, and committed two turnovers on special teams in the first quarter, which led to 10 points. Against the Bears, a 34-18 loss, quarterback Tony Romo threw five interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.