Is Mike McCarthy still the guy to ‘Make the Dallas Cowboys Great Again?’

Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)
Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images) /

Should Mike McCarthy be re-elected and brought back for one more try at “making the Dallas Cowboys great again?”

It’s Election Day in the United States so what better time to discuss the State of the Dallas Cowboys? And what better day to argue whether or not first year head coach Mike McCarthy deserves a second crack at this thing?

At 2-6 and moving in the wrong direction, it’s safe to say the 2020 Dallas Cowboys have fallen short of even the most pessimistic of expectations. In what was supposed to be Super Bowl or bust season in which the Cowboys were said to have the second best roster in the entire NFL, the Cowboys have become a laughing stock. And with no hope on the horizon, Cowboys Nation is fast becoming “Team Tank.”

Make the Dallas Cowboys Great Again (MDCGA)

This is season was supposed to be all about rediscovering our glorious past and MDCGA. After treading in the waters of mediocrity for a decade, the Dallas Cowboys waved goodbye to Jason Garrett and hello to Super Bowl winning Mike McCarthy.

McCarthy had a track record of success in this league and an impressive resume when it came to developing quarterbacks. Dallas, equipped with an All-Star roster and a budding young talent at QB, where ready-made. All they needed was a coach to take them across the goal line (see also: Jon Gruden in Tampa).

I spoke of Mike McCarthy’s expectations when he was hired. I stated that the leash would be long but patience would be short with him. The Jones wanted immediate results from their new head coach. This was a not a rebuilding project like most vacancies are.

If you would have told be then how this season is going now, I would have told you he’d be gone before the New Year. But looking at the current situation and weighing the obstacles he’s seen, I’m not too sure about that anymore.

The Good

Mike McCarthy turned the Dallas Cowboys into a highly aggressive pass-first offense and used their running backs as opportunistic runners and receivers. He leaned on 11 personnel and spread the field which is good for both pass-catchers and ball carriers. He wasn’t afraid to make controversial calls (4th down attempts, special teams gambles, etc…) if it fell in line with what the win probability models were saying.

He passed more on early downs and avoided obvious passing downs. He used motion and steady doses of play-action which universally help offenses. He did most of the things Jason Garrett wouldn’t and it made the Dallas Cowboys into a force to be reckoned with.

The Bad

A coach can have the perfect game plan but if players aren’t smart enough, willing enough, talented enough to execute it, it don’t matter a hilla beans. This was somewhat true on offense with his replacement players on the O-line struggling to handle stunts and blitzes. But it was especially true on defense all across the board.

The Dallas Cowboys defense has been a failure at every level. The pass rush has struggled getting home, the interior can’t stop the run, and the secondary can’t cover downfield. Players are universally underperforming and there’s not a solution in sight.

It’s been said things cannot be simplified any more than they already are and eventually players just have to play better. Fair or not, getting players to play up to expectations is a coaches job and the buck has to stop somewhere.

The Ugly

Injuries. The injuries this season have been ugly. Even if another player doesn’t make it to IR, this season will go down as one of the worst of all-time. And this fact will ultimately be Mike McCarthy’s saving grace.

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Before the season even started the backbone of the team, the offensive line, was crippled. Without Tyron Smith and La’el Collins as bookends, the pocket has been a dangerous place for a QB. The problems at O-line has played a part in hurried passes, poor running, and offensive turnovers. The trickle-down effect has been significant.

Blake Jarwin (TE1 who was expected to explode this season) and Gerald McCoy (the top DT on the roster) only add to the list of significant losses this season. A long list headlined by Dak Prescott. Prescott, the most irreplaceable player on the roster, didn’t just put the nail in the Cowboys’ coffin, his loss lowered Dallas’ season into the ground and buried it.

These are unwinnable circumstances that likely buy Mike McCarthy another season.

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I’m not sure if Mike McCarthy is the guy for the job or not. But before Prescott went down and the offense fundamentally changed, he made a handful of positive changes the last staff wouldn’t have even considered. That alone offers hope that the Dallas Cowboys may one day become great again.

  • Published on 11/03/2020 at 13:30 PM
  • Last updated at 11/03/2020 at 12:55 PM