Mike Nolan better tidy up the ol’ resume.
Although Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones ruled out the possibility of firing himself, the mercurial czar did crack the door for wholesale alterations to Mike McCarthy’s staff in the weeks and months ahead.
Starting on Nolan’s side of the ball.
“I will say this, like anybody, you got a lot of do-overs, I’d like to start again on how we approach our defense this year,” Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan. “I’d like to start that over again. I’m sure everybody else would, too.”
“I’d start right there (with) the first day (of training camp),” he continued. “By the way, unfortunately, everybody (was dealing with) the same thing. … I would really make sure that any changes we were making, I would want to make sure that we did in the same way that we didn’t make changes on offense. Because we didn’t think we had the time to make those changes and it really be effective. We’ve obviously, done some things, we’ve changed. And we’re having a hard time getting those in place to be a good defense.”
Jones added that such theoretical changes indeed are a reflection of the coaching — or lack thereof. But it’s also an indictment on the Cowboys’ head honcho, says the head honcho.
“Every bit of it. And, right past that, go right to your general manager. Coming through the door the GM was eye-to-eye hiring the head coach … talking about how we’re going to approach when he walks through the door and where he was going to go from there. That’s what you do, and that, obviously, didn’t work for us this year,” Jones admitted.
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Nolan Deserving of Pink-Slip
One could argue that blame supersedes Dallas’ embattled defensive coordinator. Nolan was hired by longtime pal McCarthy, who was hired by Jones. He, too, is working with the personnel given to him, and that personnel has proven faulty. Nolan is the biggest culprit, but hardly the only one.
That said, somebody must fall on the sword after a historically bad campaign for the Cowboys’ defense, which ranks dead last in scoring and against the run. They’ve surrendered 260-plus rushing yards in three games this year, including a 307-yard effort against the Cleveland Browns, as well as 30-plus points in seven games. Football fundamentals like tackling, coverage, and gap responsibility are continually absent.
Nose tackle Dontari Poe and defensive end Everson Griffen — released and traded, respectively, around midseason — were scapegoated for Nolan’s mess. It’s arguably since gotten worse. So, the next move, McCarthy strongly indicated, is chopping the head off the proverbial snake.
“I think our staff as a whole is not where we need to be. And that’s ultimately my responsibility,” he said Friday on 105.3 The Fan. “We’re going through things for the first time, as all first-year staffs do. There’s not a lot of continuity between coaches because most of us have not worked together before. And so when you talk about development, it doesn’t just stop at players. You’re developing a program, a system. Coordinating things that have been here in the past. You have a training staff that’s been together a long time. But we’re not doing things exactly how they’ve been done the last 20 years. You’re trying to coordinate that and put it all together. That’s part of building a program. It’s no different in all phases, especially with the coaching staff.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL