Dallas Cowboys: There’s no grace period for Mike McCarthy

Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas cowboys (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas cowboys (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

New Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is on a stringent deadline.

It took a while, but summertime temperatures fully returned to north Texas last week. When that happens, it’s only a matter of time before thoughts turn to the advent of training camps all around the NFL. With the league ostensibly starting on time, that means camps are only six-to-seven weeks away at most. And with the Dallas Cowboys set to play in the Hall of Fame game on August 6th, it’s going to come sooner for them rather than later.

I’m probably behind the curve on this subject, but it hadn’t really dawned on me until last week: what kind of grace period does Mike McCarthy have as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys? As the years have passed, we’ve learned that the leash is pretty long. This was especially true during the Jason Garrett era. But even then, former head coach Dave Campo was allowed to slog through three consecutive 5-11 seasons before Bill Parcells was brought in to pull it out of the ditch.

The case with McCarthy is much different, though. The bottom line is that the Cowboys need to make the playoffs this coming season–bare minimum–in order for McCarthy’s job to even be considered safe. No 8-8 trash fires should be tolerated. No inexcusable losses to the Jets, either. The expectation is high, and rightfully so. The fan base was told at various times during the last training camp that that was the best team the Cowboys were fielding in perhaps decades.

Of course, we all know how that ended. It’s the way a lot of things have ended in the past twenty-five years with the Jones family at the helm. I’ve said it here before, and I’ll say it again. The cast of players and coaches comes and goes, but there is one constant, and we all know who that is. We buy into this circus every season expecting majestic elephants and lions, but more often than not, it’s fifty clowns spilling out of the same car, bumping into each other and looking like, well, clowns.

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This isn’t a knock on McCarthy, however. He’s just in a rough spot with a team that is built to win now. So if they come out at any time during the course of the season and lay an obvious egg, then that’s going to fall at his feet. Whether he knows it or not, he’ll be the second Mr. Fix It coach in team history (the first being Wade Phillips). McCarthy is on thin ice to begin with, but he’s not naive and ignorant of the fact. In fact, he probably took the job with that in mind. He’s a Super Bowl-winning coach, and I’m sure there’s enough of an ego in place that convinced him he can take this bunch to the next level. His track record suggests that he’s the right guy for this particular job with this particular quarterback.

To their credit, the front office has made some moves along the defensive front that, if they hit, will make them a formidable line. We don’t know what Dontari Poe, Gerald McCoy, or Aldon Smith have left in their tanks, but any kind of productivity from those acquisitions will make life a lot easier for the beleaguered defense. If that’s the case, then McCarthy’s offense should be able to rack up points with the best of them, which will mean a lot of wins for this team.

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I’m optimistic that the Dallas Cowboys can be two-to-three wins better than last year’s squad. But it’s going to come down to preparation and execution. In that regard, I think we’ll see a marked difference this coming season. This team needed a change of scenery at head coach. They got that with the added bonus of an upgrade. It’s just that the results have to be immediate.

  • Published on 06/08/2020 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 06/08/2020 at 10:52 AM