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Rod Marinelli to Tampa is a real possibility

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could bring in Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, after they're eliminated from the playoffs, of course. JC talked about that on Monday, and pointed out that even the Cowboys' official site was speculating about that.

Rod Marinelli has a long history with Lovie Smith. The two worked together when they were both position coaches with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Smith hired him as his defensive coordinator when Marinelli was fired by the Detroit Lions. The two are good friends, and they made a push to re-unite last year -- a push that was thwarted by the Cowboys' refusal to let Marinelli out of his contract.

Instead, Marinelli turned to the Cowboys defense, and turned it from one of the worst units in the league into...well...a mediocre unit. A unit that admittedly looked a lot better early in the year. Still, Football Outsiders rank them 22nd in the NFL. That's solid, but hardly dominant -- and notably, worse than the Bucs. On the other hand, Marinelli has been very good as a defensive coordinator under Lovie Smith.

But if Marinelli and Lovie Smith do want to reunite, they have one problem: who's Marinelli going to replace? Leslie Frazier did a pretty solid job as the Bucs' defensive coordinator, after a rough start. Joe Cullen was actually recommended to Smith as defensive line coach by Marinelli himself. It doesn't seem very likely that Smith would feel comfortable firing either coach.

That'd leave some form of assistant head coach/defensive assistant/non-specific title for Marinelli. Which is certainly possible: he and Smith go back a long way and they'd like to work together. But it would make for a weird construction.