Mike Nolan has been the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator for 12 games, and yet he is already on the hot seat.
The Cowboys are at the bottom of the NFC East, due in large part to their horrendous defense.
Cowboys defense ranks as one of the worst, if not the worst, in team history and perhaps one of the worst in NFL history https://t.co/k4xUAwgt9C
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) December 11, 2020
They are giving up 5.2 yards per carry and 167.8 rushing yards per game, both of which are last in the NFL.
They have allowed opposing offenses to score on 48.1% of their drives, the third-highest clip in the league, and the 32.8 points per game that they are allowing is the worst mark in the league.
The Cowboys are also unable to create any takeaways, with their 11 turnovers tied for 29th.
Their ability to generate pressure is at least mediocre,f but it can not mask the deficiencies of the entire unit.
— 105.3 The FAN (@1053thefan) December 11, 2020
In an interview with 105.3 The FAN, owner Jerry Jones was unsatisfied with the performance of his defense.
“I will say this, like anybody, you got a lot of do-overs. I’d like to start again on how we approach our defense this year,” Jones said. “I’d like to start that over again. I’m sure everybody else would too.”
However, Dallas has a lot of work to do before they can be considered a respectable defense.
Here are three potential candidates to steer the Cowboys in the right direction.
1. George Edwards
Should the Cowboys want to promote within, George Edwards is a name at the top of the list.
He was originally hired as the linebackers coach from 1998 to 2001, and after a couple of stops around the league, returned to Dallas this year as a Senior Defensive Assistant.
Edwards has experience as a defensive coordinator, working in this capacity under Mike Zimmer with the Minnesota Vikings.
While he never called plays, Zimmer’s tutelage could go a long way should Edwards take over the role in Dallas.
His familiarity with the players and affinity for running a 4-3 base defense is an advantage he has over other candidates.
However, he has undoubtedly played a role in the Cowboys’ defensive collapse this year.
Perhaps all he needs is a chance to take over to get them back on track.
2. Marvin Lewis
Another branch from the coaching tree of Mike Zimmer, Marvin Lewis is a coach that could help the Cowboys’ defense reverse course.
Lewis is best known for his inability to grab a postseason win with Cincinnati Bengals in 16 years as the head coach, but that should not be a reason for concern.
He is well respected within the league and can bring the credibility necessary to change the defensive culture in Dallas.
He also runs a 4-3 base defense that could make his transition much easier with the team.
Lewis last worked in the NFL in 2018 but has since been coaching at the collegiate level at Arizona State.
If he is willing to leave his role as the co-defensive coordinator with the Sun Devils, he would be a welcome addition to the Cowboys’ staff.
3. Wade Phillips
If Dallas wanted to take a nostalgic route, they could test the waters with a former coach in Wade Phillips.
Jones fired Phillips as the head coach in 2010, creating a rift between the two parties.
However, they have since mended the relationship, making him an interesting option to take over defensive duties.
Since his departure, Phillips found success with the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, and Los Angeles Rams.
He is an excellent defensive mind and would quickly command the respect of the defense.
While he does traditionally call a 3-4 base defense, he would more than likely be an improvement over what Dallas currently runs.
Phillips may not want to coach anymore, let alone for the Cowboys, but Dallas should still give him a call.