The Defensive Scheme
When Mike Nolan arrived in Dallas earlier this year, he was expected to install a multiple defensive scheme which would switch between the 4-3 and 3-4, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the team’s opponents.
That’s based on most reports, including one from USA Today in January of this year where coach McCarthy stated that if you have a system of defense where you need a certain player to fit your scheme, you’re limiting your personnel department. But the results have been historically bad, limiting the overall ability of his team to win games.
So, yes, turnovers are up but overall defensive effectiveness is way down. Do they still play a “base 4-3”? It doesn’t look like it at times. While the new schemes and tactics may have helped in one way, it’s absolutely killed them in the most important ways.
The thing about letting go of Nolan at this point has a lot to do with schemes. Do they stick with this one? Do they change it again? Those are all good questions.
One thing that helps to make a defense good, like any team, group, or collective activity, is consistency. Something that will always play like a negative is volatility and constant change, never allowing a unit or player to lock-in.
These are the questions that we need answers to. Even if Nolan is out of there, which I fully suspect he is, what about the scheme?
Does it stay? Do they change?
I believe that they should give it one more year at least, with a few tweaks, as the differences in changing should be accounted for in the year longer they have to develop in it. If there aren’t massive improvements next season, you change the scheme.
Nolan has to go now though. Especially if they aren’t going to fire Mike McCarthy.