That's what Jerry Jones said in the visitors' locker room at CenturyLink Field on Sunday evening, and he was absolutely right.
This Cowboys team is not a one-hit wonder -- they can hit all day, on both sides of the ball. They did just that against a Seattle team that's generally regarded as the NFL's most physical franchise, and they did it in a stadium where most teams go to die.
One of the primary reasons they did so was the coaching. The coaching of Jason Garrett, who many believe wouldn't even be there if Jones could contend with a stronger voice in the room. The coaching of Bill Callahan and Scott Linehan, Garrett's offensive assistants and colleagues, who have been the butt of jokes because it seems de rigueur with the Cowboys. Why do they have so many offensive coordinators? Can't one guy figure it out?
So what is it about Marinelli that has this defense playing so well, so assignment-correct, so close to the edge and yet so successfully when it counts? They came into this game ranked 21st in yards allowed, but eighth in points allowed, which is typical of a Marinelli defense -- it's bend but don't break, and make the other guy break right in front of you.
Defensive tackle Henry Melton came over from Chicago to work under Marinelli as he did when the coach ran the Bears' defensive line and defense from 2010 through '12, and to Melton, this is no surprise at all. "It started real early in OTAs, and even before that when we were in workouts," Melton said of Marinelli's approach in Dallas. "We knew this defense needed to improve, and that's when I first got here. It's just been awesome to see everyone coming together, and everybody just doing their job."
It's a bit different for those players who have been in Dallas for a while, who have seen the merry-go-round of defensive coordinators and approaches and Jerry Jones swearing over and over that This time, it'll all work out. Safety Berry Church is on his fourth defensive coordinator in his five NFL seasons, all with the Cowboys, and Marinelli's approach has changed things in one simple manner: now, it's about accountability.
"He's been able to keep everybody accountable for each other," Church said after the game. "He's not going to let one guy slide. It's what he always preaches, that he brings it to a man's attention. Once everybody's accountable for one another, you feel that you don't want to be the guy who messes up. We all play for each other, and it's a great defensive team. It's not just one individual out there, making tremendous plays. It's the whole team, making sure they do their jobs."
Cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who was very outspoken in the locker room about refusing to compare this year's Cowboys team to those weaker little brothers of years past, nonetheless said that what's different about this squad is that everyone's where they're supposed to be. This is how a group of relatively unknown players with at times average talent can rise above their own limitations and become something special together. It's people becoming a team, in the truest sense. "One-on-one," Scandrick said of the way Dallas' cornerbacks play now. "Man on man. We're doing what we do best. That's what Brandon [Carr] was brought here for, that's what I'm here for, that's what Sterling [Moore] is here for ... we're coming full circle, and we're taking advantage of our opportunities now. We're playing good football."
They are indeed, and it is a bit to Jones' surprise. In a way, that's how you know that this year's version of the Cowboys are for real -- they're not following a Jones script from the Dallas Cowboys Entertainment Department. This was, as Jones said, a coaching win. And the Cowboys now have five of them.
"I'm so proud of these guys," Scandrick said. "All of our corners -- we all made plays on the ball, we all fought to the end and we didn't back down ... I mean, I'm just so proud of my group of guys."
source: si.com by Doug Farrar