Mike Nolan‘s return to the defensive coordinator ranks has not gone well. Dallas’ defense has allowed the NFL’s most points and third-most yards — a steep statistical drop from where it was under Rod Marinelli.
Ahead of Week 5, the Cowboys are not considering a quick hook for Nolan. Mike McCarthy expressed confidence in the veteran defensive coordinator, while Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones said during a radio interview on Dallas’ 105.3 The Fan “now’s not the time to think about” a change here (Twitter links via The Athletic’s Jon Machota).
After allowing Russell Wilson to throw five touchdown passes in an outing that would have featured six TD tosses had D.K. Metcalf not fumbled at the 1-yard line, the Cowboys permitted a franchise-most 307 rushing yards to a Browns team that lost Nick Chubb early in Week 4. While DVOA slots Dallas’ defense 24th — down from 17th at the end of last season — the unit has been the obvious culprit for the team’s 1-3 start. The Cowboys are down some key defenders, however, with Leighton Vander Esch, Sean Lee, Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown on IR.
Upon hiring McCarthy, the Cowboys brought in Nolan and allowed Marinelli to leave for Jon Gruden‘s staff in Las Vegas. This marks Nolan’s first DC gig since 2014, when he closed a three-year stay leading the Falcons’ defense. The 61-year-old assistant has now been either a head coach (with the 49ers) or defensive coordinator with nine franchises, beginning that run in 1993. Nolan, 61, spent the past three seasons coaching the Saints’ linebackers.
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