TAMPA — Less than an hour after the Cowboys lost to the Packers 26-21 Sunday in a NFC division playoff game, speculation began about Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli possibly joining Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay.
Marinelli, 65, is expected to become the Bucs' defensive coordinator, profootballtalk.com reported, a position currently held by former Vikings coach Leslie Frazier.
Smith said Sunday night that he had not spoken to Marinelli and there was "no validity to the story."
Marinelli, who is very close to the Bucs head coach, does not have a contract for 2015. He served on Smith's coaching staff with the Bears from 2009-12, the last two seasons as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Marinelli and Smith were part of Tony Dungy's first coaching staff in Tampa Bay in 1996.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he expected changes to his coaching staff. Marinelli and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan are both free agents.
"There will be changes," Jones said. "They're coaches that are highly thought of. They will be looking at their individual situations, and we will be looking at the overall staff."
Regarding Marinelli and Linehan, Jones said, "They did a great job as well. In general, this staff is one that you'd like to keep going with a lot of other things influencing your ability to keep a staff together."
Under Frazier, the Bucs ranked 25th in total defense and in points per game (25.6). In the Cowboys' first year with Marinelli as defensive coordinator, they improved to 19th in total defense, improving from a league-worst 32nd in 2013, and 15th in points per game (22.0).