There’s always a Mike Nolan. You know, the guy that gets brought to the party because he’s friends from back in the day with the host and then proceeds to spill beer on the couch and inappropriately touches someone’s girlfriend.
That is how we can describe the relationship between Mike McCarthy and Mike Nolan. Mike McCarthy is not good, but he’s not the worst coach in the world (he might get there eventually, though). His friend Mike Nolan on the other hand? He is THE WORSTTTTTTTTTTT. And Mikey Mac brought Nolan to the Cowboys party, and he’s done nothing but wreck everything in his path no matter if he does it from the booth, the sidelines, or the parking lot.
Do you want an amazing statistic? Seriously. One of those stats that if you drop it at BW3 with the boys, no one will believe you. Here it comes:
Mike Nolan has been Defensive Coordinator for 25% of all NFL teams.
Bwahahahaha. What does that mean? It means either he’s the second coming of Buddy Ryan, or he’s the cockroach of modern DCs. Unkillable. Keep in mind, this does NOT count his stint as head coach of the 49ers (18-37) or as Linebackers Coach for San Diego and Denver. He’s legitimately coached for a third of the entire NFL.
After Monday Night’s game? Pretty obvious he ain’t no Buddy Ryan. He’s not even Wade Phillips. No disrespect to Wade Phillips.
His history is fascinating. He was a hot commodity in the 1990s and 2000s before cooling off CONSIDERABLY. He took over an Atlanta Falcons defense in 2012 that was ranked #17 in the league in total defense and by the time he was fired after the 2014 season they were #27 (#32 in passing defense). And this was his last stint as DC before Mikey Mac saved him from obscurity by gifting him a solid Dallas defense.
In 2019, the Cowboys ranked 9th in total defense and 11th in points allowed. Plenty to build on. This year? Through 6 games, the Cowboys rank 27th in Points Allowed, last in Total Points Allowed (and it’s not close), and second to last in Rushing Yards Allowed.
This achievement in such a short time is almost miraculous. And yes, some of this has to do with injuries, but not all of it, not by a long shot. The defense only started practicing as a complete unit LAST WEEK. Seemed to help, considering they suffered the worst loss in the history of AT&T stadium on Monday night, giving up 38 to Kyler Murray and the Cards.
Objectively, he’s not good at his job. At all.
There are plenty of coaches out there that while not amazing at the Xs and Os are there because they’re “good for the locker room”-- you know the kind of charismatic dudes that players LOVE being around?
You may be asking yourself… is that what Mike Nolan’s superpower is? His charm and the overwhelming positive vibes he exudes that keep everyone loose and happy?
I’m here to tell you, that is not in fact not Mike Nolan. Do you remember the famous story about how the Niners took Alex Smith over home town boy and now future Hall Of Famer, Aaron Rodgers? That decision was ALL Mike Nolan. He had the final say
According to an article in SB Nation, Mike Nolan thought Rodgers was a little too big for his britches and that they wouldn’t get along:
There has been plenty of discussion about Rodgers and cockiness. One story suggested that Nolan thought Rodgers displayed a little too much attitude, while Smith was more “cerebral,” and not going to be as confrontational. Rodgers did not specifically address that, but he did offer up a story he heard at one point:
"The other thing as Alex at the time was a good kid -- a very good person, a safe choice, always trying to please. On the other hand, Aaron was very cocky, very confident, arrogant. So you can say, 'Why didn't you take him to begin with?' Because that's really what your best quarterbacks look like. They aren't very pleasing. They aren't very safe."
If you’re a Niners fan, this man Nolan cannot be allowed back in your city for any reason, no offense to Alex Smith. And not just because of his 18 wins in four seasons as head coach.
It had been five full seasons since Nolan had been anything but a position coach; so what possible reason would McCarthy have for bringing him in? Certainly, it could not have been his help as Linebackers coach in getting the Saints defense to their #13 ranking last year. What about a middle of the pack position coach who’s failed miserably in his last two major coaching positions made him THE MAN to continue Dallas’ defensive turnaround? Might it have to do with the fact that Mike Nolan’s father Dick spent six years as the Cowboys Defensive Coordinator himself, and also played for Dallas?
Maybe a little, but it’s not the major reason. He got hired because McCarthy’s big break came as offensive coordinator of the Nolan-led Niners in 2005, after which he was hired by the Packers.
Loyalty, nepotism, and the ol’ boys network make for a powerful hiring charm spell. And anyone with an ounce of logic can see that.
So what happens now that it’s obvious that Mike Nolan is a big part of the problem? Will Mikey Mac cut ties to save himself?
That does not appear to be the case. Recently in an interview after one of the last Cowboy historic losses (can’t remember which one now there has been so many), Mikey Mac had this to say:
"We are going to stay the course,'' McCarthy said. "We are on top of where we are. We don’t like the way it turned out. We certainly understand the point totals. We are focusing on the details of the things that we need to do better.
"My confidence is very high in Mike Nolan.''
That’s not good.
And what does Jerry have to say?
Well, folks… I have ZERO confidence in this organization if the owner cannot see or admit to seeing what is plain as day. Yes, the secondary is a mess. The defensive line has done nothing all year. The linebacker corp has been missing LVE. But other teams have major injuries and their defenses don’t drop 20 slots in the overall rankings. The Cowboys defense is in free fall, and it’s not just because of injuries. They are unprepared, uninspired and poorly coached. They are last in turnover differential in the entire league. Demarcus Lawrence recently called the defense “soft as shit”.
Other than that, things are going great!
Someone please wake me up when the adults enter the chat and start shaking shit up. Until then I’ll hate blogging about the Cowboy and designing “Fire Mike McCarthy” tee shirts.