Cowboys hire Grantham as D-Line coach

1-24-08 - The Dallas Cowboys announced today the hiring of former Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Todd Grantham as the club’s defensive line coach. Grantham will be taking over the position from Kacy Rodgers, who was Dallas’s defensive line coach from 2005-07 (defensive tackles 2003-04). Grantham comes to Dallas with a wide range of experience in the 3-4 defensive scheme after having worked as a coordinator under Romeo Crennel and a defensive line coach under Dom Capers in his last two NFL assignments.

Grantham brings a total of 18 years of coaching experience – nine years in college and nine in the NFL – to Dallas. He spent the previous three seasons as the Browns defensive coordinator.

“Todd is an outstanding person and coach,” said Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips. “His familiarity with many of the things we do up front was important, but his experience as a coordinator is what elevated him in our eyes. He knows and understands how one position group on the defense affects everything else that goes on in the scheme. You can only gain that type of knowledge of the big picture by actually creating a game plan and coordinating a defense, and I think it’s a huge plus.”

In 2007, Cleveland surfaced as one of the most improved teams in the NFL by compiling a 10-6 record after posting a 4-12 mark in 2006. Under Grantham’s watch, the Browns 2007 secondary tandem of cornerback Leigh Bodden and safety Sean Jones recorded a combined total of 11 interceptions. Bodden’s six tied for fifth in the league, while Jones’s five tied for ninth. Bodden also tied for third in the league with three fumble recoveries.

In dealing with a secondary decimated with injuries in 2006, Grantham oversaw the emergence of Jones at the safety position and cornerback Daven Holly, who tied for the team lead with five interceptions each. The Browns defense still managed to finish 15th in the league in pass defense (202.6 yards-per-game) despite the injuries.

In his first season with the Browns (2005), Grantham led a defensive unit that had converted to the 3-4 scheme and finished atop the AFC in red zone defense (44.0 touchdown percentage), fourth in the league in pass defense (179.2 yards-per-game), 11th in points allowed (17.7 points-per-game) and tied for 16th in total defense (316.8 yards-per-game).

Grantham gained valuable experience in the 3-4 scheme under Capers while coaching the Houston Texans defensive line from 2002 to 2004. In his first season with the Texans, Grantham’s starting line (Gary Walker, Seth Payne and Jerry Deloach) all had then career-high tackle numbers and Walker earned his second Pro Bowl selection, finishing the season with 115 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Despite his line suffering several season ending injuries in 2003, Grantham’s work helped Deloach register a career-best 109 tackles. In 2004, his work with Houston’s 3-4 alignment allowed the team to finish 13th in the NFL against the run and had a streak of seven games without allowing a rushing touchdown.

Grantham made his professional coaching debut in 1999 as the Indianapolis Colts defensive line coach, a position he held through 2001. His work helped the Colts rack up 96 sacks, a 29-19 record and two trips to the postseason over the course of three seasons. In his first two seasons in Indianapolis, the Colts posted 56 sacks, the highest two-year total for the club since its move to Indianapolis.

He preceded his professional coaching career with a three-year stop at Michigan State (1996-98) where he coached the defensive line for the first two seasons and was promoted to assistant head coach/defensive line for the 1998 season. Michigan State finished 19th in total defense in 1996 and 13th in 1997, earning back-to-back bowl bids.

Grantham made his coaching debut at his alma mater, Virginia Tech in 1990. He spent his first two seasons as the school’s defensive ends/inside linebackers coach. He then coached defensive tackles (1992-93) and the entire defensive line (1994-95). In 1995, the Hokies boasted the top-ranked rushing defense, fifth scoring defense and 10th overall defense. Virginia Tech also racked up 50 sacks en route to the Big East title and Sugar Bowl win over Texas.

Grantham played guard and tackle for the Hokies (1984-88) and earned second-team All-South and honorable mention All-America honors as a senior. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management. A native of Pulaski, VA, Grantham (9/13/66) and his wife, Paige, have a son, Corbin, and a daughter, Olivia.