The NFL’s old dog taught the Cowboys defense a few new tricks.
An inability to force turnovers was one of the main reasons Jerry Jones replaced defensive coordinator Rob Ryan with 73-year-old Monte Kiffin in the offseason and the move paid immediate dividends for Dallas in a 36-31 season opening victory over the bumbling Giants on Sunday night.

Emphasis on “immediate.”
After needing four games to produce their fourth turnover last season the Cowboys didn’t even require three full quarters to match that total in the first game this year.

Dallas finished with six forced turnovers by the end of the night (one by way of special teams) as Kiffin’s switch to a 4-3 scheme two-deep zone coverage and emphasis on taking the ball away took root with his players a lot faster than anyone could have expected.
“The turnovers were the story of the game” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “They were a huge point of emphasis from Minute 1 this year. That was the difference in the game.”

By the time cornerback Brandon Carr was sprinting 49 yards to the end zone with a deflected Eli Manning pass to Da’Rell Scott with 1:50 left to pretty much put this one out of reach Jones had to be thinking the Kiffin hire was the best he’d made since luring Bill Parcells out of retirement.

“Those turnovers were all about hustle and tonight was a great example of what hustle can do for you” Carr said. “Coach Kiffin preaches that and we’ve really taken it to heart. I was ready to break on the ball and once it bounced into my hands it was off to the races.”