Cowboys Look to Ex-Coordinators to Coach DB's

The Cowboys are looking to former NFL defensive coordinators to fill their secondary coach vacancy following the departure of Jerome Henderson to the Atlanta Falcons.

For the third time since Jason Garrett took over as head coach in 2010, Dallas is looking for a new secondary coach. According to Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram, sources indicate the Cowboys have interviews lined up with former defensive coordinators.


Tim Lewis and Mike Nolan have been defensive coordinators in their NFL careers, Lewis with the Steelers from 2000-03 and Giants from 2004-06. Nolan was also the Giants defensive coordinator from 1993-96 along with coordinating the defenses of Washington (1997-99), the Jets (2000), the Ravens (2002-04), the Broncos, (2009), the Dolphins (2010-11), and Falcons (2012-14). With the Falcons, Nolan was actually Lewis' boss as he coached the secondary in Atlanta from 2010-14. Nolan was also the 49ers head coach from 2005-08.


Between the two targets, Lewis is the one with proven experience coaching the secondary, as he did with Pittsburgh (1995-99), Carolina (2007-08), Seattle (2009), Atlanta (2010-14), and just last year with San Francisco. This is in addition to his college coaching experience with the secondary at Texas A&M, SMU, and Pitt Panthers. Nolan has never coached the secondary at any level. The only positions he has coached are defensive line, linebackers, and wide receivers, curiously enough.


Since 2000, as a secondary coach, Lewis was able to help his teams finish in the top-10 in interceptions three times: Atlanta from 2010-12. His 2002 Pittsburgh Steelers defense, which he coordinated, finished in the top-10 in interceptions as well. For Nolan, aside from 2012 when he was the Falcons defensive coordinator, he has not had a top-10 interception defense since he was the Ravens defensive coordinator with the luxury of having future Hall-of-Famer Ed Reed playing centerfield.


While we gather more answers here at CowboysHQ, the connection between the two men and the Cowboys appears to be Cowboys tight ends coach Mike Pope. From 1997-99, Pope worked with Nolan under head coach Norv Turner in Washington. Pope coached the tight ends as Nolan was the defensive coordinator.


Later, when Pope returned for his second stint as the Giants tight ends coach from 2000-13, Lewis was the defensive coordinator from 2004-06.


Fun fact: Nolan's father, Dick Nolan, was the Cowboys defensive coordinator under Tom Landry from 1962-67 and then came back into the fold as an assistant coach from 1982-90. 


Keep your browser bookmarked for CowboysHQ as we will have the details on who Valley Ranch will hire for their vacant secondary spot.

CowboysHQ Top Stories