Cowboys fire defensive coordinator Mike Nolan

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Mike Nolan

The Dallas Cowboys announced Friday they have fired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.

Nolan’s defense finished with the 10th-most yards surrendered, second-most rushing yards surrendered, yet tied for the seventh-most takeaways with 23.

Cowboys owner, president, and general manager Jerry Jones told 105.3 “The Fan” [KRLD-FM] Tuesday he appreciated the struggles the defensive coaches had to go through with no offseason workouts, but pointed out there were some teams that were similarly challenged and found a way to figure it out.

“I look at the teams that are going to play this weekend. Now, they managed to figure out how to do it,” Jones said. “We didn’t. But they managed to figure out how to get to the playoffs. There will be one of them that manages to get to the Super Bowl. There are teams in the playoffs that have new coaches. All teams had the same time, the same limited time in minicamps to put their put their teams together. Many teams had certainly, really serious player availability problems. Most of those aren’t in the playoffs, the ones that had the real serious — like we saw the other night with Philadelphia.”

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said the team would evaluate the entire coaching staff and player personnel before making big decisions.

“I think that’s all part of this process we’re going through because I think you have to go back and look at the things that happened early and how we were able to transition into this last eight weeks,” McCarthy told reporters on Monday. “But my No. 1 priority, and it’s always been that way as a football team, is to win the turnover differential. The history speaks for itself. Our last four weeks, especially, we’ve done a tremendous job of taking the ball away. So we have the first part in order and with that we took a huge step defensively.”

Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said the players and the defensive coaching staff, particularly Nolan, “had tough battles” in the beginning of the season as they struggled to learn a new defensive system.

Said Lawrence: “We went through some tough battles and when you’re playing with young guys on the defense, we have to take into consideration that some things that are easy for me won’t be easy for the next person. I respect Mike as a man because he looked himself in the mirror and he changed some things to make us play faster and help us play better and we started to see the improvements.”

Jones indicated that McCarthy and the front office would work together on where to go with the coaching staff and players.

“Mike, as well as all of us, thought we had the best personnel that we’ve had since I’ve been with the Dallas Cowboys this year, personnel, players, some of the very best,” said Jones. “Arguably Mike would tell you some of the best he’s ever had. And, so, we got some work to do and we will do it.”

Now, the next job is figuring out a new defensive coordinator and defensive line coach.