Dallas Cowboys: Why the Mike Nolan era was important

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Why was Mike Nolan important?

A lot of the words I’ve typed have to do with the roster construction/team management. A lot of that is tied to the general manager/director of player personnel but the baselines for what to look for often stem from coaches. Mike McCarthy has stated he doesn’t want much say in regards to the personnel of the team.

This makes the difference between Nolan and Quinn so significant. Both of them wanted to run defenses that shared many similarities but one has been a lot more effective than the other. While Mike Nolan might not have been bad at figuring out what strategy is necessary weekly, he was clearly bad at executing it due to his talent management.

Mike Nolan was important because he was the team’s first shot at trying something relatively new after years of very basic defense structure. He was eschewing a previous era of Dallas Cowboys that had one of the lowest turnover and blitz percentages in the league. He and Mike McCarthy wanted to bring something that wasn’t called predictable by opposing quarterbacks. (Looks at Sam Darnold)

It didn’t happen with him because of bad personnel moves; Dan Quinn fixed it.

Mike McCarthy knew what he was doing with Mike Nolan. When it didn’t work out, he knew immediately that a breakup was imminent. In fact, the collateral of this was Jim Tomsula getting fired for not playing Randy Gregory enough.

A good leader understands how to delegate responsibility assessing for strengths and weaknesses across everyone. A common assumption when McCarthy was hired was that he would be the offensive play caller. Shortly after the hire we find out that Kellen Moore will take over play calling duties.

McCarthy knew what the team had with Moore and Dak at the helm and in the midst of his second year as the head coach, it’s clearly working for him.

Sure this seems easy to do, but then explain why Dan Quinn was and is still incredibly hated by Atlanta Falcons fans for being an incredibly disorganized head coach with one of the league’s worst defenses all six years he was there? If it was that easy, Kellen Moore likely would’ve taken the Boise State head coaching job when it opened? Instead he made a long-term commitment with Dallas.

See my point?

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The Mike Nolan era was important to the Dallas Cowboys because that type of defense was meant to be the identity of this team. When McCarthy harped on how the defensive scheme was going to fit the players, it was because the defensive coordinator is tasked with finding the guys he wants running the “multiple” defense. Nolan just didn’t…