The team also reportedly fired defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
The Cowboys’ defense struggled in its first season under Nolan. The team started out the year giving up at least 34 points in 5 of its first 6 contests. The Cowboys lost 4 of those games.
Things didn’t improve much the rest of the way. The Cowboys’ defense allowed 29.6 points per game in 2020. That figure ranked 28h in the NFL.
While the defense performed horribly under Nolan, it also suffered as a result of Dak Prescott’s injury. With Prescott out, the Cowboys’ offense relied on Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert under center. Dalton had his moments, but the Cowboys’ offense underperformed without Prescott. The team’s offensive struggles likely resulted in shorter drives and worse field position for the defense.
The Cowboys could have used that excuse to keep Nolan around for another year, but instead decided to take action. It probably didn’t help that the defense performed so poorly when Prescott was healthy.
Jerry Jones said he would take a “hard look” at Cowboys defense
The report comes two days after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones declined to comment on Nolan’s job status. Jones told 105.3 The Fan that he would take a “hard look” at the team’s defensive struggles. Jones did credit the Cowboys’ defensive players in that interview, saying they “got the job done” despite the presence of COVID-19.
Nolan was handpicked by Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy to lead the team’s defense in 2020. In McCarthy’s first season at the helm, the Cowboys went 6-10. The team will pick 10th in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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