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Cowboys Fire Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan & DL Coach Jim Tomsula

It’s hard to keep your job after running one of the league’s worst defenses. Mike Nolan was reminded of this today when the Dallas Cowboys fired him after just one season as defensive coordinator.

Dallas also parted ways with Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula, who Nolan brought in as part of his staff last year.

The Cowboys defense finished the season 23rd overall in yards allowed. They were 31st against the run and 28th in points allowed.

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Breaking news the Dallas Cowboys have fired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan @NFLonFOX

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In addition to DC Mike Nolan, the #Cowboys also fired DL coach Jim Tomsula, source said.

Nolan’s arrival in Dallas has never been met with much fanfare. He’s had a middling track record for many years now and worked for numerous teams. He’d spent the last five seasons as a position coach until Mike McCarthy made him his defensive coordinator.

The Cowboys made some big shifts in their defensive scheme this year which the roster did not take to well. Jaylon Smith, arguably the biggest disappointment on the team this year, commented on the struggle of adjusting to Nolan’s scheme back in October.

There has been healthy debate on how much of Dallas’ defensive problems in 2020 were due to the coaching or the talent. By today’s move, it’s clear the front office feels a different staff should be able to get more out of the players.

There are two in-house options for these openings which could get some consideration. George Edwards, a senior assistant last year, spent 2014-2019 as the Vikings’s defensive coordinator and would likely bring back more of the general 4-3 philosophy that the Cowboys had under Rod Marinelli.

As for the defensive line coach, Leon Lett has been an assistant there for the last 10 seasons in Dallas and could finally get a chance to lead the group.

There will of course be many other options that the Cowboys will be considering in the coming weeks. An opening at defensive coordinator allows them to look around at all of the top position coaches in the NFL and perhaps poach someone from another staff.

For now, all we know is Mike Nolan, Jim Tomsula, and perhaps more of Nolan’s defensive assistants will not be back for a second season. I don’t think many in Cowboys Nation will be saddened by this news.

What do you think?


Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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  1. I’d like to say Marvin Lewis or Matt Patricia. But these 2 are the polar opposites of the coaching style spectrum. One is soft spoken but gets his team to buy in to the defense but can let arrogant heads rule the roost if left unchecked, and the other is hard nosed stomp ur feet and rallys players but also can lose some if pushed too far. We need the baby if these 2 coaches produced an offspring. Lol

  2. Jerry has left us in the position where we are happy just to not have the worst coaches in football.
    Can we fire McCarthy now and go get a set of real coaches who would live in Dallas and commit to winning in Dallas?

  3. The problem is there is no “real” coaches that are interested in being the cowboys head coach , because of Jerry and the fact that he wants all the credit but when things go bad he wants it to be blamed on the coach. I wouldn’t want to coach the cowboys with that kind of pressure and not much control of what i can do , like who can i sign to a contract or who i don’t want signed but will be signed anyways cuz they are ” Jerry’s grandkids ”
    or the constant press conferences with Jerry sending secretive messages that are directed at someone , till Jerry is gone the cowboys will NEVER have a REAL Head Coach

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