With only three games left in the 2020 season the Cowboys have the league’s worst run defense and have given up the most points in the NFL. Mike Nolan’s first year as Dallas’ defensive coordinator has been nothing short of abysmal and it now appears that it will be his last.
According to a report last night by Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Mornings News, Nolan is unlikely to return to the Cowboys in 2021.
Cowboys DC Mike Nolan is not expected to return in 2021. Mike McCarthy will. But the team’s defensive scheme mishandle falls on McCarthy, too. https://t.co/o3tA8WQIwH
This news comes in the midst of repeated assurances from Dallas’ front office that Head Coach Mike McCarthy will not be fired this offseason. But the Cowboys’ poor performance this season demanded a scapegoat and Nolan is the most deserving candidate.
True, the COVID-19 pandemic took a wrecking ball to the usual offseason approach. This was especially damaging to team with new coaching staffs looking to install new systems, such as the Cowboys had this year.
But the regression on a team level and with individual players this year for the Cowboys has been beyond reason. Outside of DeMarcus Lawrence there hasn’t been a consistent difference-maker on defense and players like Jaylon Smith and Xavier Woods are playing the worst ball of their NFL careers.
The hiring of Mike Nolan has always been questionable, seeming more like a personal favor from McCarthy than a move which was truly in the Cowboys’ best interests. Dallas was willing to give McCarthy some latitude in his first year but now the Jones family appears ready to take back some of their control after one of the most embarrassing seasons in franchise history.
Nolan’s defense has been the biggest embarrassment of all. While there are some issues to address on the roster with the actual talent, the blame has to start near the top for such a widespread regression.
If this report holds true, then the Cowboys are clearly ready to admit to at least one mistake in their 2020 coaching hires.