Who deserves the blame for how bad the Cowboys are this season?

Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Mike Nolan, Jaylon Smith, Dallas Cowboys
Mike Nolan, Jaylon Smith, Dallas Cowboys. (Mandatory Credit: James D. Smith via USA TODAY Sports) /

Scouting Report. Defensive Coordinator. Mike Nolan. 3. player. Pick Analysis. Dallas Cowboys. 123

Now, we’re really getting to where the bulk of the blame lies. Though Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott deserve some, it’s only minute slivers of the pie compared to these next three men. At one point in time, he might have been good at his job leading an NFL defense, but it’s become beyond apparent the game has passed Mike Nolan by. His defense is nothing short of rancid.

When he cut his teeth as the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator, he had all-time players and cerebral ones in Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs starring for him. The complexity of his scheme has proven to be offset over time by incredibly instinctive players who created Hall of Fame careers for themselves by making big plays when the opportunities presented themselves.

Flash forward a decade and a half later and the Cowboys continue to not put forth a maximum effort on his side of the ball. When you have players like safety Xavier Woods saying it’s impossible for players to play all-out every snap their on the field, you have a culture problem. This is what substitutions are for. This is why keeping it simple, stupid, is the way to go defensively.

There is talent abundant on this defense. Unfortunately, many of the guys who were paid the big bucks in recent years are mailing it in like an election ballot. Dynamism is non-existent with the Cowboys defense, so it’s easier to fire the defensive coordinator than to get rid of the entire defense itself and start over from scratch. Either way, it’s not acceptable to be playing this badly.