New Cowboys D-Coordinator Nolan on Tank Lawrence: ‘He’s Bright-Eyed and Excited’

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - It's too early in the Dallas Cowboys' new coaching regime to have all the answers for what coordinator Mike Nolan's defense is going to look like. Too many questions. Too many holes. Too many unsigned possibilities.

But Nolan, at 60 a veteran of almost 30 years of coaching experience, knows one thing he's got.

"I had the chance to meet him the other day and I was impressed as far as him as an individual goes,'' Nolan said in our media visit here inside The Star. "He's bright-eyed and excited.''

Nolan was just talking about the personality of Tank, and he's certainly correct about Lawrence's high energy level; "I imagine he's been that he's always been that way all along. ... Certainly we want to look for people who are the same every day.''

Lawrence is that, in terms of his personality. But obviously new head coach Mike McCarthy and Nolan - no matter exactly what form their defense, based in a four-down-linemen concept, takes - are also fired up about Lawrence the player, a Pro Bowler who has abilities both as a sack-master and an all-around defender.

"As a football player, he's an accomplished player,'' Nolan said. "He's a player who has done a great job getting after the quarterback. And (along) with stopping the run, you've got to get to the quarterback if you want to win big games.''

Nolan said, in general, that he thinks "there's a good nucleus of guys on defense that are good building blocks for us going forward."

But the specifics of DeMarcus Lawrence are a big help, and when someone mentioned that at least Dallas has Tank, by virtue of a year ago signing the richest contract in Cowboys history, the otherwise-all-business Nolan fired back a quip.

"Yeah,'' he said. That's a good thing, isn't it?"

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