Getty DeMarcus Ware with Cowboys
Franchise legend and future Hall-of-Famer DeMarcus Ware threw his hat into the ring to become the next Dallas Cowboys defensive boss.
Ware took to Twitter on Friday with a ponderous message after the Cowboys fired coordinator Mike Nolan.
Defensive Coordinator? pic.twitter.com/dZnpmPyZTZ
— D-Ware (@DeMarcusWare) January 9, 2021
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Don’t Hold Your Breath …
Ware is one of the greatest players in the Cowboys’ storied history. The four-time first-team All-Pro and former first-round pick amassed 117 sacks across nine seasons in silver and blue from 2005-2013. He twice led the NFL in sacks (2008, 2010) and is a member of the league’s 2000s All-Decade Team.
In 2014, Ware defected to the Denver Broncos, for whom he would contribute 21.5 sacks over three seasons — helping the club upset the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 — before hanging up his cleats. The 38-year-old, who retired as a member of the Cowboys, is eligible for Hall of Fame induction in 2022.
Ware remains popular in Dallas and cut his coaching teeth with the Broncos as a pass-rush consultant. But expecting him to become Nolan’s successor is a massive, unrealistic leap. Perhaps if he was part of the organization, but not straight from his couch.
Besides, the club might already have Nolan’s replacement lined up. NFL Network reported Saturday that former Atlanta Falcons secondary coach/defensive pass game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. will interview for the position. Whitt knows head coach Mike McCarthy from their time in Green Bay and should be considered the tentative front-runner.
But, in the interest of preserving continuity, beat writer Jon Machota of The Athletic suggests George Edwards as an in-house option. Brought aboard in January to be a senior defensive assistant, Edwards previously held DC stints in Washington (2003), Buffalo (2010-11), and Minnesota (2014-19).
In 2019, under Edwards’ tutelage, the Vikings finished sixth in points allowed, 13th against the run, 14th in total yards and 15th against the pass. An active unit prone to forcing turnovers, they ranked third in the league in interceptions (17), fourth in pass breakups (98) and forced fumbles (19), and fifth in sacks (48).
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Dallas Also Axed Tomsula
In case you missed it, the Cowboys dismissed two defensive coaches on Friday: Nolan and one of his chief assistants, veteran defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.
Tomsula personally failed pass-rusher Everson Griffen, a hyped free-agent signing who was traded away at midseason, and nose tackle Dontari Poe, who was cut seven games into a two-year, $10.5 million contract.
No DL logged more than 6.5 sacks (DeMarcus Lawrence) under Tomsula’s tutelage as Dallas finished 31st against the run, surrendering 158.8 yards per game, and ranked 20th with 31 sacks across 16 games — averaging less than two a week. The line was continually blown off the ball, lowlighted by Cleveland’s 307-yard rushing effort in Week 4 and Baltimore’s 294-yard performance in Week 13.
The Cowboys, albeit injury-afflicted, surrendered the most points (473) in franchise history — 29.6 points per game — blowing past the previous record (436) set in 2010.
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL