The Dallas Cowboys will be looking for a new defensive coordinator in the offseason. The team fired Mike Nolan and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula on Friday.
In a statement, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said he was appreciative of both men, and said the decision to fire them wasn’t easy.
The Cowboys have formally announced that Mike Nolan and Jim Tomsula are not returning to the staff next season.
Statement from head coach Mike McCarthy on the team parting ways with Nolan and Tomsula: pic.twitter.com/5KAfJP8DTv
— Rob Phillips (@robphillips3) January 8, 2021
The Cowboys’ defense struggled in its first season under Nolan. The team started out the year giving up at least 34 points in five of its first six contests. The Cowboys lost four of those games.
Things didn’t improve much the rest of the way. The Cowboys’ defense allowed 29.6 points per game in 2020. That figure ranked 28h in the NFL.
While the defense performed horribly under Nolan, it also suffered as a result of Dak Prescott’s injury. With Prescott out, the Cowboys’ offense relied on Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert under center. Dalton had his moments, but the Cowboys’ offense underperformed without Prescott. The team’s offensive struggles likely resulted in shorter drives and worse field position for the defense.
The Cowboys could have used that excuse to keep Nolan around for another year, but instead decided to take action. It probably didn’t help that the defense performed so poorly when Prescott was healthy.
Jerry Jones said he would take a “hard look” at Cowboys defense
The report comes two days after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones declined to comment on Nolan’s job status. Jones told 105.3 The Fan that he would take a “hard look” at the team’s defensive struggles. Jones did credit the Cowboys’ defensive players in that interview, saying they “got the job done” despite the presence of COVID-19.
Nolan was handpicked by McCarthy to lead the team’s defense in 2020. In McCarthy’s first season at the helm, the Cowboys went 6-10. The team will pick 10th in the 2021 NFL Draft.
More from Yahoo Sports: