Man among boys
The Dallas Cowboys’ brutal performance on defense through the quarter-point of the 2020 NFL season is among the biggest stories around the football world.
That came out in droves this past Sunday in a 49-38 loss to the Cleveland Browns . Led by veteran defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, the Cowboys yielded 31 points and 333 yards of offense in the first half alone. First-year head coach Mike McCarthy was not too happy after the game, pretty much throwing Nolan under the bus in the process.
But as former Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers pointed out after the game, McCarthy himself shares some of the blame. Speaking with Dave Briggs of Sportsnaut, Flowers noted that McCarthy did Nolan a favor by hiring the longtime assistant coach in the first place.
This was a focus of an article we penned following Sunday’s brutal performance in Big D. Nolan had not been a defensive coordinator since leading a league-worst unit with the Atlanta Falcons back in 2014. His relationship with McCarthy obviously played a role in the hiring.
Nolan served as the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach from 2005-08, posting a disastrous 18-37 record in the process. His offensive coordinator in San Francisco? None other than Mr. McCarthy before he got the Green Bay Packers’ job.
There’s something to be said about the good old boy network in the NFL. McCarthy’s decision to hire Nolan as his defensive coordinator after five-plus years as nothing more than a position coach only adds to this narrative. Flowers pointed that out in a big way. He’s not wrong.
What’s interesting here is Nolan’s status moving forward. Dallas is giving up 36.5 points per game through the quarter-pole of the 2020 season. Despite this, the team is tied with the Philadelphia Eagles in the win column in the horrible NFC East. Can McCarthy justify firing his hand-picked assistant with Dallas still in the divisional race?
Flowers touched on that as a backdrop, too, focusing on just how bad the NFC East is and what it could mean for the Cowboys moving forward.