There are a lot of people who were disappointed with the first year of Mike McCarthy at the helm of the Dallas Cowboys. With a 6-10 record, disappointment is certainly fair. It isn’t difficult to come up with excuses, for lack of a better word, for McCarthy’s first season. Losing your starting tackles, and then other members of the offensive line after that, is going to have a negative impact on the offense. Getting less than five full games out of your starting quarterback is going to make matters difficult as well.
While all of that was happening, the Cowboys were a disaster on the defensive side of the ball. They stabilized a little bit at season’s end (much of this was due to finally running into sub-par opponents) which was cause for the lowest level of optimism possible, but changes were nevertheless still needed.
Football Outsiders voted Mike Nolan as the worst assistant coach in the NFL last season
Since then the Cowboys have bid adieu to their former defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and Indiana Jones-swapped him with Dan Quinn. The switch doesn’t make up for the fact that McCarthy hand chose Nolan to run his defense which is an issue that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Football Outsiders put together a collection of awards looking back on the 2020 season. In analyzing who the most ineffective coaches were throughout the season, the top two ran teams while number three was Mike Nolan. He received the most votes of any assistant coach.
- Adam Gase, 58.9%
- Matt Patricia, 26.8%
- Mike Nolan, 4.5%
- George Stewart, 3.9%
- Doug Pederson, 3.6%
- Doug Marrone, 2.4%
As you can see, this is hardly a list of coach of the year candidates and there is a reason that turnover is to expected from people that get votes on something like this. Mike Nolan was a disaster of a defensive coordinator for the Cowboys, and Dan Quinn will be charged with fixing his mess.
Time will tell if 2020 was a lost year for McCarthy’s Cowboys defense or whether the talent just isn’t enough for the group to have sustained success. Here’s to hoping that Dan Quinn, nor any Cowboys staffer, is part of this group next year.