A Case for Mike Nolan

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As Dolphin fans we can’t help but think we live in a twilight zone episode.  All of our previous and present coaches have built a good to great defense and hope that our run first approach will provide our team with just enough points to win it all.  This concept has worked before with the Baltimore Ravens, and since the NFL is a copycat league, all coaches believe this philosophy will allow them to capture the next Super Bowl title.

So why in the world should we even think about dropping Tony and putting Nolan in charge of our team? Are we not going to be going down the same path we have been down before? Have we not learned our lesson yet? 

We could look at Nolan’s influence on our team so far:

Category 2010 2009 % Difference
Total Defense YPG 3 22 86%
Passing 7 24 71%
Rushing 6 18 67%
Receiving 6 26 77%
Sacks 8 3 -167%
Scoring 9 25 64%
TDs 6 23 74%
Tackling 28 27 -4%
INTs 25 16 -56%

Extracted from NFL.Com Stats
% Difference (a-b)/a

Numbers do not lie, and we can clearly see a drastic improvement across the board.  The Sack and Interception categories are a little misleading.  As I stated in previous articles, it is Nolan’s responsibility for placing the player in the right position, however it is not Nolan’s fault for the player(s) not making the play.  That lies directly on Todd Bowles in my opinion for the decrease in interceptions and Kacy Rodgers for the lack of push we have seen up front (Where has Randy Starks gone?)

What we can determine from the above figures is that Nolan can produce an elite defense allowing his team to stay in any game.  Nolan has implemented unique formations this year that have caused our oppositions to game plan differently each time.  Each week we have seen different formations from our standard 3-4, 3-4 Hybrid , 4-3, Dime and Nickel schemes which has caused Offensive Coordinators to alter their game.  This technique allows the table to be turned, favouring Nolan’s game plan.

Mike Nolan comes from a rich and developed hierarchy of football knowledge.  His father Dick Nolan was a coach in the NFL, Taking the reins for the Saints and the 49ers.  Football has been a lifelong accomplishment for this former safety.    Mike Nolan was a three year letterman and starter at Free Safety for the University of Oregon.   
Nolan coaching tree roots has many different paths which include ties with Bill Wash, Bill Parcells, and Jimmy Johnson.  However, Nolan is most directly related to Dan Reeves.  Reeves brought Nolan with him from Denver (where he was a linebacker coach) to be the Giants DC.   Nolan was considered an asset to Giants organization and this allowed Nolan the opportunity to introduce himself to the NFL.

However with all this, Nolan ability to coach an entire team never presented the results in which we thought.  His tenure as the Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers was a dangerous one.  Nolan had the first overall pick and selected Alex Smith, whereas Aaron Rodgers has become a house hold name, Smith has been categorized in the same bracket as Ryan Leaf.   However, Nolan was able to select Patrick Willis and Frank Gore two franchise athletes that are dominant in their respected positions. 
Nolan’s lack of focus on the QB position and his indifferences with Mike Martz were his downfalls which lead to his release from the Head Coach Position.

As Dolphin fans were are all but too familiar with the above situation.  In my opinion Nolan should have at least deserved another opportunity to correct his wrongs.  Nolan now understands how to build an entire team which will allow his previous failures to be transposed to successful developments.

We all know we need a QB and Offensive Coordinator, which was the root cause of the Nolan’s release from the 49ers, fate has now provided a situation where Nolan can have a ‘do over.’  Tis the season for forgiveness and redemption, and based on the facts and experience we should at least consider promoting from within.

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