Rod Marinelli could be Buccaneers' defensive coordinator under Lovie Smith

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going all-out on this coaching staff, trying to bring the old Tampa 2 gang back together. Rod Marinelli is the next name on the list, but his presence may be an issue: he's under contract with the Cowboys.

Leslie Frazier appears to be the most likely candidate as defensive coordinator under Lovie Smith, but Pat Yasinskas of ESPN mentions that Rod Marinelli will be Smith's coordinator.

The issue here will be the Dallas Cowboys. Marinelli is still under contract with the Cowboys, who are widely expected to fire current defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. It's not clear whether the Cowboys would want to retain Marinelli in that scenario, and the Bucs' history of blocking coaches from interviewing for other jobs will hurt them in trying to get Marinelli to come back to Tampa. NFL teams can block their coaches from interviewing for any non-head coaching position.

Rod Marinelli would be an outstanding hire for the Buccaneers, however. He has a long history of success as both a defensive line coach and defensive coordinator. He was instrumental in coaching the defensive linemen that built the vaunted Tampa 2 defense for the Bucs, as he was with the team from 1996 trough 2005. Former defensive linemen adore him, with Warren Sapp and Stephen White frequently praising his work.

While he subsequently failed as a head coach in Detroit, he resurrected his career in Chicago, where he spent four years as a defensive line coach and later defensive coordinator, with a lot of success. More success than Leslie Frazier ever had in Minnesota. Getting both Frazier and Marinelli to come to Tampa would be a ridiculous scoop, even for Lovie Smith.

If he were to come to Tampa he'd have a chance to help disappointing high draft picks Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers reach their substantial potential. With Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Mark Barron, Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson already in place, this defense has the players to become a dominant force in short order.

Marinelli has actively tried to stick around his fellow Tampa 2 coaches, turning down the opportunity to stick around as defensive coordinator in Chicago last year to become defensive line coach for the Cowboys under Monte Kiffin. If he can convince the Cowboys to let him go, it would make sense for him to want to join hands with Lovie Smith once again.

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