Cowboys have fired Mike Nolan and Jim Tomsula after one season with the team.
FRISCO - Should Mike Nolan be judged on his 16-game body of work, which included an ill-fated offseason plan and a 6-10 record? Or on the December three-game win streak, during which his defense produced 10 takeaways?
Or on Sunday’s 23-19 playoff-dream-killing loss at the New York Giants?
The decision has been made by the Jones family. Nolan, as of Friday, is fired, as is his top assistant, D-line coach Jim Tomsula.
The PR-released remarks from head coach Mike McCarthy:
“I am appreciative of my relationships with both Mike and Jim, and I am grateful for the contributions that both of them made to our team under difficult circumstances in 2020. These are never easy decisions to make, and we wish them, and their families, the very best in the future.”
McCarthy has spent the week dodging the question about his pal Nolan’s job security because Mike McCarthy wasn’t in charge of deciding.
Report: Dan Quinn among candidates connected to Cowboys defensive coordinator vacancy - Josh Clark, Radio.com
Some names have already been mentioned for replacing Mike Nolan.
One name has already surfaced, and that person is former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reports that sources have told him that Quinn is among the candidates who have been discussed internally.
Quinn is one of three names 105.3 The Fan’s Jeff Cavanaugh mentioned on-air after Nolan’s firing was announced. And Bryan Broaddus heard from multiple sources that Quinn would be a great hire.
“I did get a really favorable report on Dan Quinn, as far as a teacher, as far as a guy players all respect, (and) gravitate towards. So, if Quinn is one of the guys they talk to, I had three different guys tell me he’d be a really good hire,” Bryan Broaddus said Friday on 105.3 The Fan.
The other two names Cavanaugh mentioned are George Edwards, the team’s senior defensive assistant, and Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
Zero All Pro’s for the 2020 Dallas Cowboys.
The Associated Press unveiled its annual list of All-Pro selections. For the first time since 2005, no Cowboys players were named to the first or second team. Injuries clearly contributed to the outcome. As one example, offensive lineman Zack Martin likely would have been a shoo-in had a calf injury not sidelined him for the final five games.
Martin still received three of 50 possible votes at the right guard position.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur was the only other Cowboys player to garner any votes. He received two.
Martin is one of six NFL players since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger — and first offensive lineman — to begin his career with six consecutive Pro Bowls and All-Pro selections. Lawrence Taylor, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Patrick Willis and Aaron Donald are the others. Due to injury, the streak ended at six for Martin in 2020.
Hindsight grades for free agents the Dallas Cowboys saw walk away in 2020 - RJ Ochoa, Blogging the Boys
Were mistakes made, or did the Joneses make the right decisions?
Byron Jones, Miami Dolphins
The rookie contract from the Cowboys 2015 first-rounder finally expired last offseason, and despite his low career interception numbers (which are brought up regularly), Byron Jones was in high demand on the open market.
It was the Miami Dolphins who signed him to a five-year deal worth $82.5M ($46M guaranteed at signing). To the interceptions point, Jones got his hands on two balls in 14 games with the Dolphins this season, He totaled as many interceptions in 79 games with the Cowboys.
Having another elite corner opposite of him in Xavien Howard (who led the NFL in interceptions and has immense respect for Amari Cooper, by the way), certainly helped Jones’ cause in a way that nothing else really did during his five seasons in Dallas. It’s hard to look at the fact that the Cowboys ultimately “let” him leave as anything but a failure for them.
Collectively the Miami Dolphins had one of the best defenses in the NFL (they finished 11th in DVOA) and Byron Jones was a big part of that. The Cowboys not only put out one of the worst defenses in club history, but they whiffed majorly on the free agents that they chose to sign instead of biting the bullet on a big-time deal for Jones.
Hindsight grade for the Cowboys: F
Help for the secondary!
Today, less than a week after the NFL regular season ended, ESPN’s well-know draft expert, Todd McShay, released his first official mock draft. McShay’s too-early projection has the Cowboys staying put at the No. 10 pick and selecting Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
McShay justified his pick for Dallas, stating,
“What Dallas does in the draft will likely come down to the outcome of Dak Prescott’s contract situation. The Cowboys will know whether they need a QB by the time they’re on the clock; we just don’t know right now. But considering Surtain is still available, and Dallas hasn’t had a shutdown corner in years, this seems almost too easy.
It wasn’t Surtain’s best season, but he has strong instincts and can redirect wideouts where he wants them. Trevon Diggs — Surtain’s former teammate in Tuscaloosa — appears to be a great value pick for Dallas (No. 51 in 2020), but fellow cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie could be coming off the books this offseason. On throws outside the hashes, Dallas allowed the fourth-highest opponent QBR in 2020 (83.5).”
Film room: Defensive prospects the Cowboys could potentially target with the No. 10 pick in the NFL draft - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
First-round options for the Cowboys are.....?
Listed at 6-2, 207 pounds, Farley has an NFL-ready frame like Surtain but combines it with the elite athleticism that Surtain doesn’t have. Farley was 11th on Feldman’s “Freaks” list due in part to clocking in at 24.16 mph in a game once — for comparison’s sake, the NFL’s fastest ball carrier in 2020, San Francisco’s Raheem Mostert, clocked in at 23.09 mph.
While Surtain has been playing corner basically since he came out of the womb, Farley is new to the position. Farley played quarterback in high school before starting his Virginia Tech career at receiver. A knee injury forced him to redshirt his freshman year, and then he transitioned to corner shortly after recovering.
That inexperience does show up a bit on tape, lacking eye discipline at times and getting a little loose in coverage when making transitions. Farley’s not the technician Surtain is right now, but you shouldn’t expect him to be given their different experience levels at the position.
Having said that, Farley was one of college football’s best corners in 2019 (he opted out of 2020), allowing just 36% of his targets to be caught, which equated to a 26.8 passer rating allowed when targeted. Additionally, Farley put together impressive ball production, securing four interceptions and nine passes defensed as a redshirt sophomore that year.
While the debate on whether to pay Prescott and how much to pay Prescott keeps the Dallas Cowboys at the center of discussions on sports talk shows and with the media, it also serves as a potential distraction for the team as they work to retool during free agency and the draft.
As the team looks to address needs all over the defense and potentially along the offensive line, the Cowboys will need every bit of cap space to work with. Using the franchise tag when it becomes available in March doesn’t provide them any flexibility with which to work with. A long-term deal, no matter how rich can be structured in such a way to give the Cowboys more flexibility by moving the cap hit related to his guaranteed money to future years.
In a year where the salary cap could potentially be at the Collectively Bargained floor of $175 million, having flexibility is key to their offseason plans.
The Cowboys front office faces of Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones have indicated time and again that Dak Prescott is the present and the future of the organization, even as he recovers from an ankle fracture. Dak Prescott has remained consistent in his desire to play for the Dallas Cowboys for a long time to come. A deal will come to fruition, it’s only a matter of time. And to better help the Cowboys plan for this offseason, there’s no time like the present to come to terms with their star quarterback.
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