Dallas Cowboys: The final nail in the coffin for Mike Nolan?

Dallas Cowboys, Jaylon Smith, Mike Nolan, Mandatory Credit: James D. Smith via USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys, Jaylon Smith, Mike Nolan, Mandatory Credit: James D. Smith via USA TODAY Sports /
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Dallas Cowboys, DeMarcus Lawrence
Dallas Cowboys, DeMarcus Lawrence – Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Nolan’s Swiss cheese scheme

Now, normally, I am a patient guy. I absolutely hate calling for a man’s job, especially in year one. I am aware of all the valid excuses as to why, maybe, Nolan should be offered an opportunity to fix things. The personnel. The talent. COVID. Less practice time. Limitations in training camp. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I’m also aware that eleven months ago, I asked the question “Will the Dallas Cowboys change their defensive scheme?” I honestly didn’t think they would, mostly because of all of those reasons above.

Did I expect some implementations of a new scheme? Of course. Ultimately, however, time and personnel did not lend themselves to such a move.

As the months progressed, it became more clear that a scheme change would in fact take place quicker than expected. Rumors became proven with our eyes as we watched defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence standing up more. The longer-than-it-should-have-been experiment of a washed-up Dontari Poe at defensive tackle was another telltale sign that Nolan wanted to gravitate quicker to a 3-4 look.

Of course, both of those moves failed miserably and now Poe is nowhere to be found on any NFL roster. Still, the defense continued to look bad on a weekly basis. It was as if everyone employed to stop the other team from doing things all of a sudden forgot how to make that happen.

Week after week after week, teams have put up video game-like numbers on the Dallas Cowboys Swiss cheese scheme. Five of the first seven weeks had Dallas giving up 37+ points allowed with three of those including 200+ yards rushing days from their opponent. The season clearly did not start well.

The Cowboys then had a three-game stretch where it appeared things may be improving slightly. Decent efforts against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota could have turned the season around if not for a quarterback carousel on the offensive end.

That proved to be fool’s gold however as Dallas reverted back to their early season form in an embarrassing 41-16 Thanksgiving Day loss to Washington. Still, the Cowboys would be given an opportunity of sorts to right the ship.