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Cowboys fire defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula

The Cowboys gave up 473 points in 2020, an average of 29.6 per game.

FRISCO, Texas — Updated at 4:10 p.m. after confirmation from the Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys have fired two members of their coaching staff: defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.

The team confirmed firings Friday afternoon after multiple reports online.

Nolan, the first-year coordinator under new head coach Mike McCarthy, had a tumultuous season with the Cowboys. His system was criticized by his players for being too complex, especially early on in the season.  

Tomsula is also a former head coach in the NFL, and was instrumental in the Cowboys addition of Aldon Smith. But overall, the defensive front struggled in 2020, especially against the run.

Dallas gave up 36.3 points per game in the first six weeks of the season, as Dallas started 2-4. After that, things improved. But not much.

Nolan was a McCarthy guy, brought in as part of an almost entirely brand new coaching staff. They had worked together previously in San Francisco, and had extensive respect for one another.

Nolan's defense was admittedly quite hamstrung by the COVID-19 pandemic, as there was no offseason during which to implement his scheme. That was a key factor in players struggling to adapt to his defense early on in the 2020 season. 

The Cowboys allowed 473 points in the 2020 season, good for their highest in franchise history at 29.6 per game. Regardless of the reasons that may have led to their struggles, moving on from Nolan was a move many expected them to make.

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