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Cowboys News: Three changes we could see under new DC Mike Nolan

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NFL: Pro Bowl-NFC Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Film room: 3 changes you can expect Cowboys DC Mike Nolan to make to Dallas’ defense-John Owning, Dallas Morning News

What will the defense look like under new DC Mike Nolan in 2020?

Vice president of player personnel Will McClay let the cat out of the bag, revealing to ESPN Dallas 103.3 [KESN-FM] recently that the Cowboys “will have the opportunity to get more size inside” with the new staff.

Whereas Rod Marinelli valued undersized but explosive defensive tackles who could penetrate their gap and play in the backfield, Nolan seems to value bigger defensive tackles who are strong at the point of attack and occupy multiple blockers.

In Nolan’s final year as defensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons, their defensive tackles’ average weight was 315.8 pounds. The Cowboys defensive tackles’ average weight 305.8 pounds, a notable 10-pound difference. It should be noted that this data is collected at the whim of a player’s listed weight, which can vary greatly from their actual weight, but it’s the best we’ve got.

On top of the size, the application of the defensive tackles should also change.

In Marinelli’s defense, the emphasis on getting upfield and penetrating a gap, interestingly enough, led a ton of poor gap discipline. Here’s an example:

In the clip above, Maliek Collins is aligned inward and responsible for the B-gap between Green Bay’s right guard and tackle. Once the ball is snapped, instead of reading and reacting to the right guard and tackle’s initial steps to maintain his gap, Collins is more focused on getting upfield to penetrate. This makes it easy for the right tackle to hook Collins, creating a giant lane with a two-way go for the running back that ends in a touchdown.

‘I don’t feel bad for me’: Cowboys fans are likely more upset about Jimmy Johnson’s Ring of Honor snub than he is - David Moore, Dallas Morning News

Former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson does not seem to upset about his Ring of Honor snub.

“No, I haven’t heard anything,’’ Johnson said. It was easily Johnson’s shortest answer of the 40-minute session. Don’t dwell too much on this. Johnson isn’t. But while both men have worked hard to repair the damage that came from their very public and acrimonious split nearly 26 years ago, Johnson’s response shows the two haven’t returned to the relationship they enjoyed when they entered the league together after Jones purchased the franchise.

Johnson had trouble breathing when he was informed at the half of a playoff game earlier this month that he would be the 328th person inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Cowboys issued a statement from Jones later in the evening. It read: “We’re so happy that the Hall of Fame has recognized Jimmy Johnson for what he is. A great coach. “To Jimmy I say, ‘The stars were aligned and our dreams came true when we joined the Dallas Cowboys.’” “And on behalf of the Cowboys, and our fans all over the world, I say congratulations Jimmy. We’re proud of you.”

Jones dictated that statement by phone to Rich Dalrymple, the club’s senior vice president of public relations. The owner considered it a personal reply, one that was posted on the Fox postgame show later that evening as Johnson watched in studio. Maybe that’s why he hasn’t reached out to Johnson otherwise. The two will likely see each other at some point this week in Miami. Jones can deliver his personal congratulations then.

Will a Revamped Staff Bring the Cowboys Defense Back to Form? - Matthew Lenix, Inside The Star

More on the Cowboys new look defensive coaching staff.

Just a few weeks ago, Mike McCarthy was hired as the new head coach. Before the news could even begin to register, McCarthy started fine-tuning the coaching staff. Not a complete overhaul, but there were very few holdovers from the previous era under Jason Garrett.

The first domino to fall was bringing in long-time assistant Mike Nolan as the new defensive coordinator. Nolan has 32 years of NFL coaching experience having been a part of 10 different organizations including seven gigs as defensive coordinator. He spent the last three years as the linebackers coach for the New Orleans Saints.

The Cowboys will still run their base 4-3 defense as opposed to the 3-4 Nolan has traditionally operated with. He has a history of producing good linebacker play. As the head man for the San Francisco 49ers, retired linebacker Patrick Willis was an all-pro and one of the best at the position under Nolan. Also, Demario Davis of the Saints was an all-pro in 2019 under the guidance of the Cowboys new DC. Now, he gets to work with Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, and maybe even Sean Lee if he returns next season.

Troy Aikman Says Cowboys Couldn't Have Hired a Better Coach Than Mike McCarthy - Tyler Conway, Bleacher Report

Troy Aikman certainty believes in new head coach Mike McCarthy.

Aikman said he believes the Cowboys have the talent to get back into the Super Bowl hunt.

"Yeah. Yes. Without a doubt," Aikman said. "I thought, looking at them, that they were really talented. I would talk to coaches around the league and to a man—there's not many coaches that wouldn't have traded their roster with the Cowboys."

Though he's two decades removed from playing in the NFL, Aikman's word still carries weight in Dallas. The Hall of Famer is the last Cowboys quarterback to win a Super Bowl, a run that will reach a full quarter-century by the end of next season.

Dallas went 8-8 in 2019, which was enough to get Garrett fired a year removed from winning the NFC East and making it to the divisional round. While the Cowboys had just one losing season under Garrett, he made the playoffs only three times and failed to live up to expectations.

Linguist Moving Up & Coming Home All At Once - Lindsay Cash Draper,

New defensive backs coach Maurice Linguist is coming back home.

Now comes the time for hours upon hours of meetings to mesh with the rest of the defensive staff. And soon after that, his players. First and foremost, Linguist is concerned with nourishing relationships.

"When you look at player-coach relationship, everything begins with ultimate trust. Trust is built over consistency and time. You can be a great player; I can be a great coach. If we don't trust each other, nothing else matters," Linguist said.

And as far as his mantra or mentality he plans to instill in the safeties and nickel players (defensive backs coach Al Harris will work more with the corners), Linguist says, "You have to have your mental approach and build your fundamentals. You have to have your scheme intact. You have to be great technicians. You want to make sure our football IQ is where it needs to be, a smarter player is always a better player. And then you want to be disruptive at the point of attack."

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