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USA TODAY

Mike Nolan apologized.

“It wasn’t good,” the Cowboys defensive coordinator told reporters Monday night. “Uh. Terrible. God, I’m sorry.

Nolan did not talk about the Cowboys’ 25-3 loss to Washington, their record of 2-5 or the worst 34.7 points in a game per game that the defense allowed.

Rather, Nolan had to stop burning.

“I have something in my eyes,” he said. “I just had Tabasco on my finger and it got in my eye.”

Nolan apologized for 2 minutes and 30 seconds before resuming questions at his weekly press conference.

Upon his return, Nolan attributed his defensive struggles to the integrity of the gaps that brought more than 200 quick yards three of the last four games. Nolan explained the discipline and division of responsibility he thought they had to hire to block the big plays they constantly allowed. On Friday, Nolan had complained of 80- and 69-yard touchdowns conceded to Arizona with a 38-10 loss. This time, Nolan also turned to Washington successor Terry McLaren, who burned rookie Trevon Diggs for a 52-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Diggs then admitted that he was “lazy” with his eyes.

“I think Trevon’s eyes were stern yesterday.” His eyes bothered him, Nolan said. “He looked inside, stopped his legs and then the man went right next to him. The man didn’t even stutter, he just walked upright. I thought in the game that he was somehow stuttering or something to make him stop, but he didn’t. Trevon’s eyes were bad from this game.

“If you don’t have good eyes, you can get involved in this game very quickly – no matter what position you play.”

Nolan, only minutes removed from the Tabasco fiasco, could relate.

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He did not share what he ate shortly after 5pm on Monday night, but confirmed that he was on the mend.

“My eye is feeling much better right now,” Nolan said, “but it was burning.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports’s Johnny Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein

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