Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Nolan Report: Why was the Cowboys defense unprepared for Russell Wilson?

One essential aspect of defensive football is almost too basic to discuss at the NFL level. It is drilled in and practiced so often that we figure by a player’s 20th year playing defensive football, it is not even worth our time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Decoding Kellen Moore: An offensive performance worth commending

 It is pretty difficult to be angry about this game from an offensive perspective. In terms of attacking offensive performances in the post-Romo era, this one is worth discussing in glowing terms. We have seen this team go on the road a number of times for a number of years and not play like this. If we sort for 2016-2020, on the road, and look at it from a higher view, we can see what has frustrated people so much about Dak Prescott and this offense during the last four years.

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Morning After: Cowboys stumble in Seattle, but there’s reason for optimism

 There is the bar. Against Seattle, in Seattle, in the prime of Russell Wilson’s MVP revenge tour now that he has multiple weapons who can demand double-teams. As far as tough tests at perennial contenders in the NFC’s home fields (sans the actual crowd) go, we can argue a trip to Lambeau is on the same level, but that is the entire list of parallels. Seattle is the bar. It has been for a decade in this conference, and it has been for the new coach of the Dallas Cowboys at his other stop, too.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday Riffing: How can the Cowboys slow down Russell Wilson in Seattle?

 Forty-two days since the truncated Dallas Cowboys training camp held its first full practice in Frisco, 135 days until Super Bowl 55 in Tampa and only two days until the 3:25 start for Week 3’s clash with the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field…This week, it is 11 on 11. Usually, when you go to Seattle, there are massive concerns about hearing anything.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Nolan Report: Cowboys defense stuck in neutral without stops and big plays

 Two weeks into the NFL season, we are beginning to form an impression on what this Cowboys team looks like. Yesterday, I expressed great optimism about the offense, as weapons appear to be the great equalizer when a tackle gets hurt. This offense has a plan that can and will work most weeks when they have these weapons together, and I believe that the early results are a sign of things to come. Today isn’t about CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup terrorizing defenses, though.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Decoding Kellen Moore: Dak’s big day salvages Cowboys’ disastrous start

 This was one for the record books and one for the Dak Prescott supporters’ scrapbooks. The numbers are the numbers, but honestly, this is also one for those who don’t think Prescott can play the position at a level where he can determine games. If you can watch some of the top-level games that he has produced — especially since 2018 — and not see his quality, then I propose that it might not be something you are capable of detecting at this point.

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Morning After: How Cowboys survived a ridiculous afternoon and beat Atlanta

 Let’s start at the end. If we are to believe everything I am going to type after this preface, then we have to suspend a fair amount of disbelief due to the fact that Dallas cannot win this game unless Atlanta does them a major solid. Without this favor of endless generosity that has — and will — get coaches fired, the Cowboys were out of bullets. They fought valiantly, perhaps hit on some things for the weeks to come, but in the end, were simply a day late and a dollar short.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Friday Riffing: How can the Cowboys avoid the dreaded 0-2 pitfall vs. Atlanta?

 Thirty-five days since the truncated Dallas Cowboys training camp held its first full practice in Frisco, 142 days until Super Bowl 55 in Tampa and only two days until the Noon start for Week 2’s home opener with the Atlanta Falcons at the Death Star (AT&T Stadium) in Arlington…I have great news. Before I deliver it, allow me to say that nobody ever wants to lose in Week 1.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Nolan Report: New Cowboys coordinator, similar struggles against Rams

 Nobody likes to admit that Sean McVay is the real deal, but I have never understood that. I grant you that he has done a few things along the way that perhaps put a target on his back, as has also been the case for his fellow young coaches of the NFC West: Mr. Shanahan with his flat-billed caps and Mr. Kingsbury with just about everything in his arsenal. Mr. McVay, for instance, decided to go shirt-off in the pool in Hard Knocks with his dog, his model lady friend and his well-styled hair. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Decoding Kellen Moore: Third down the difference-maker in a disappointing loss

 Sunday night’s loss to the Rams is still not sitting well with most. As we look back at the performance of the offense like we do every week, it is clear that we should always start with the biggest issue. I think that is pretty basic analysis, and it ensures we coldly look at a body of work without deluding ourselves about how a bad call from a referee, a bad decision by a coach or a bad break with an injury or a tipped pass can be blamed for everything.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Morning After: Mike McCarthy’s first Cowboys game wasn’t perfect. Give him time

My initial thoughts after watching the 2020 Cowboys were certainly filled with all of the hot reactions that only Cowboys football can elicit. Dallas was promised a new coach would bring new beginnings and that we might instantly see some differences indicating the team had jumped a weight-class or two up the ladder to league heavyweights. After all, this new coach has certainly been where they want to be. People, people.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Cowboys Friday Preview Riffing: A trip to Los Angeles kicks off the new season

Twenty-eight days since the truncated Dallas Cowboys training camp held its first full practice in Frisco, 149 days until Super Bowl 55 in Tampa and only two days until the 7:20 pm Sunday Night Football Week 1 showdown with the Los Angeles Rams at the all new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA…Ladies and gentlemen, we made it. Many of us were concerned it would not work out, but we can officially declare that last night, the NFL did happen. 

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Introduction to 2020 Cowboys defense: Nolan's task is simple — get the ball back

 Every Wednesday, I attempt to give you some meaty defensive analysis that mirrors what we do on Tuesday for the offense. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the sport, there is less tangible and consistent information given out. Defense is more about reacting to your opponent than it is calling whatever you want. 

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Decoding Kellen Moore: Aligning Cowboys offense with Mike McCarthy’s influence

 Welcome to the 2020 NFL regular season. Between no preseason, pretty much no access and all the empty seats, this might be the craziest NFL season start we have ever witnessed (or ever will). The year 2020 has, well, put a pretty big lead up on sports. Never fear, though: The games are happening. In fact, in two days we will have actual NFL football in Kansas City. And in five days’ time, the real bullets begin to fly for Cowboys football, triggering opinions, conclusions and knee-jerking Mondays. 

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Why fixing the red-zone offense could be the key to the Cowboys’ season

One of the questions I’m most often asked about the 2020 Dallas Cowboys has been the following: What do I consider the key to the success of the season? There are many to consider. Will the defense and all of the personnel changes on the defense – including as many as five or six new starters – and the scheme result in a more useful group overall? Will Mike McCarthy help Dak Prescott take yet another step forward?