Dallas Cowboys: Mike McCarthy speaks out – does it matter?

Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys are a dysfunctional franchise. The way ownership interferes, the way the front office is structured, the way owners embrace the circus… This team is unlike any other professional sports franchise.

So when someone inside speaks up and reminds the world the Dallas Cowboys are interested in more than just winning games, we aren’t entirely surprised.

Mike McCarthy called into the the Rich Eisen Show yesterday to discuss his awkward and tenuis standing on the Cowboys. He discussed his lack of job security and how Sean Payton and Dan Quinn (his possible replacements in 2023) were topics of conversation between he and Jerry Jones this offseason.

Mike McCarthy has been put in an awkward situation with the Dallas Cowboys this year.

McCarthy, fully aware of the bizarre situation he’s in this season, didn’t seem to embrace his current working conditions, but he has accepted them. And when you think about, he really doesn’t have much of a choice.

"“Are these narratives unusual? Absolutely,” McCarthy said. “I’ve never dealt with anything like this. Do I wish I didn’t have to come on here and answer questions about it? Yeah, no doubt about it. I wish we were talking about something else, but it’s part of our landscape.”"

Mike McCarthy doesn’t have a lot options these days. After his hands-off approach in Green Bay turned into reports of laziness and even negligence, McCarthy joined the Super Bowl-ready Dallas Cowboys in 2020.

Two seasons in, those same reports are starting to surface in Dallas, prompting many to wonder what kind of value he even brings. He clearly let Mike Nolan and Dan Quinn autonomously run their respective defenses, but based his statements this winter, he also seemed to leave Kellen Moore out on limb as well.

Offering little to no help on offense put the responsibility and blame fully on his assistants, but it was also an indictment on McCarthy. McCarthy, an offensive specialist himself, seemingly could have helped Moore overcome some of the issues he was having late in the season.

With limited time for Dak Prescott in the pocket, beating shell coverages was an issue for Moore and the offense. One would think a veteran offensive mind like McCarthy would be willing to lend a hand when his young coordinator struggled. One would think…

McCarthy has to deal

The thing is, Dan Quinn and Sean Payton really are head coach candidates for the Dallas Cowboys next year. Both are proven entities that would provide a fairly significant upgrade to McCarthy. They would revitalize the fanbase and demand more from players and coaches alike.

McCarthy doesn’t have much of a choice in this either. He could pout and complain and force his way out, but where would he go? He has the same accusations today that he had 5-7 years ago: That he’s lazy. NFL teams aren’t going to line up to hire a coach who’s just cashing checks.

Based on Jerry Jones’ comments this winter, the Dallas Cowboys are in the market to consider change at head coach next year. Mike McCarthy simply has to deal.

Unless something big happens this coming season, Mike McCarthy is likely coaching his last NFL season. Not just with the Dallas Cowboys, but in my opinion, the NFL. If he doesn’t like long hours as a head coach, he certainly won’t as an assistant. There’s been too much smoke for too long to think there isn’t fire.

The good news for McCarthy is he has time and opportunity. As long as Stephen Jones doesn’t scuttle the ship, this is a championship ready team. Kellen Moore struggled but he’s smart and ambitious and should be able to figure out what perplexed him in 2021.

Dan Quinn is a master motivator and schemer and should have no problem getting the most from his side of the ball as well. And the NFC appears to be without a dominant team next year, keeping the window wide open for a team like Dallas.

Jerry Jones made things weird for Mike McCarthy in Dallas but it doesn’t really matter. Jerry’s not being passive aggressive or anything, he’s just being unprofessionally blunt and honest. Mike and Jerry appear to have a healthy (albeit nontraditional) relationship despite it all.

Mike McCarthy has to deal because he has no other choice. This is his chance and probably his only chance, so everyone might as well accept it.

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For as tone deaf as the Joneses usually are, they have it right on this. They know fans don’t want to see the same coaching staff return next year and they have a plan. They just need to wait until 2023 to execute it.