5 Cowboys on Thin Ice With Mike McCarthy Staying in Dallas

Five Cowboys who are on thin ice with head coach Mike McCarthy needing to make changes in his return to Dallas.

Sep 17, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Deuce Vaughn (42) runs the ball in
Sep 17, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Deuce Vaughn (42) runs the ball in / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Cowboys have made the controversial decision to retain Mike McCarthy as the team's head coach for the 2024 season. As McCarthy looks to earn a second contract, he knows this squad's unfortunate postseason results can't continue.

That means making changes on both the coaching and player side to ensure he fulfills Jerry Jones' Super Bowl dream.

With that in mind, here are five Cowboys on thin ice with McCarthy coming back for another year.

1. Deuce Vaughn

The Cowboys entered the 2023 season looking to prove they were just fine without veteran running back Ezekiel Elliott. Following some exciting preseason flashes, rookie Deuce Vaughn was seen as one big reason this RB room would keep chugging.

Unfortunately, the production from the backfield didn't go as expected, and neither did Vaughn's inaugural season.

The electric playmaking Vaughn showed at Kansas State struggled to directly translate to the pros. He recorded a lackluster 40 yards on 20 carries over the first five games while serving as one of Tony Pollard's main counterparts.

However, Vaughn was then demoted in mid-October, as McCarthy and co. made him inactive for Week 6 against the Los Angeles Chargers. That allowed Rico Dowdle to secure a tighter grip on the RB2 job, meanwhile practice squad RB Malik Davis stepped into Vaughn's role.

Vaughn eventually ended the 2023 season with more games made inactive (10) than active (seven), which is a concerning sign. It's clear he didn't earn the staff's confidence this year despite having an obvious opportunity to do so.

It'd be no surprise if McCarthy and co. make Vaughn earn his roster spot for 2024. He has little invested in him as a sixth-round pick, and quality RB depth is pretty cheap these days, providing an easy replacement path if he fails to impress.