Dallas Cowboys fans will be disappointed with anything less than a Super Bowl appearance in Mike McCarthy’s first season with the team. That type of pressure can be difficult for a head coach to handle, but McCarthy seems to be embracing it.
McCarthy was asked on Friday about the challenges of dealing with championship expectations. He said he is not hiding from the fact that the team’s goal is to win the Super Bowl.
“I’ve always been very up front about it, we’re in this to win a championship,” McCarthy said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “At the end of the day, we’re on install 6, so we have a long way to go.”
The Cowboys have been one of the favorites in the NFC for several seasons now, but they haven’t advanced past the divisional round of the playoffs since 1995. Jason Garrett lost his job because he was unable to fulfill the expectations of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the team’s fan base. Dallas hired McCarthy to get more out of its roster, and fairly immediate results will be expected.
McCarthy was fired from his last job with the Green Bay Packers and took a year off from coaching last season. We recently learned that oddsmakers do not believe that will keep him from having success in Dallas. With Dak Prescott still seeking a long-term deal and the Cowboys having made several key offseason signings, it’s deep playoff run or bust in Big D.
How much of a distraction will Dak Prescott’s contract situation prove to be for the Dallas Cowboys? Coach Mike McCarthy is confident that it won’t be too much.
Prescott is currently franchise tagged by the Cowboys, and the two sides are locked in negotiations on a long-term deal. That’s not entirely ideal with a new head coach trying to implement his offense, but McCarthy isn’t worried about that.
There’s no indication that Prescott is in danger of not reporting to camp. The negotiations are stuck on one major issue, and it seems likely that something gets done at some point.
The 26-year-old quarterback threw for 4,902 yards last season. It’s understandable why many are intrigued to see how he does in McCarthy’s offense.
The NFL Coach of the Year award usually goes to the coach of the team that defies expectations or dominates more than expected. One oddsmaker thinks that a somewhat surprising name will do that this year.
FanDuel Sportsbook unsurprisingly rates Patriots coach Bill Belichick as a co-favorite for the award. Given the Patriots’ history of brushing off changes, they’re optimistic that Belichick will be credited for keeping New England moving in the right direction after Tom Brady’s departure. The other co-favorite, however, is something of a surprise: new Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy.
Why the optimism about McCarthy? There’s a sense that the Cowboys have underachieved over the last couple years under Jason Garrett, and a new coach might be a breath of fresh air. Plus, McCarthy has a proven track record of success in Green Bay. That said, the team has some off-field business to square away to ensure that McCarthy only has to deal with on-field worries come training camp.
As for the coach with the longest odds of winning the award? That’s Doug Marrone, whose Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to be among the league’s worst teams in 2020.
Tom Brady’s impending free agency has led to some wild hypothetical situations being thrown around, and one of them is Brady suiting up for the Cowboys in 2020. But even if Dallas had the opportunity to sign the six-time Super Bowl champion, new head coach Mike McCarthy does not sound interested.
Cowboys legend Michael Irvin told WEEI this week that he recently had a “shocking” conversation with some “very significant people” about the possibility of Brady in Dallas. However, Jane Slater of NFL Network reports that McCarthy would prefer to work with a younger quarterback and develop him, which likely means he would rather have Dak Prescott than Brady.
The Cowboys have said publicly on numerous occasions that they expect to sign Prescott to a long-term deal, so the idea of trading him for a year or two of Brady seems unrealistic. There is likely some intrigue there since Dallas has such a talented roster and Brady signing with the Cowboys would be arguably the biggest free agent acquisition in NFL history, but that doesn’t mean anything will come of it.
Prescott appears to be destined for the franchise tag this offseason, and we have heard some outrageous figures thrown around for how much the Cowboys might pay him. If Dallas waits until Patrick Mahomes signs an extension with the Kansas City Chiefs, the situation may get even more complicated.
Mike McCarthy has been a busy man since taking over the Dallas Cowboys head coaching job, but he might need to work on his outreach and communication.
Jaylon Smith, who has been with the Cowboys since 2016, was a guest on the “Aaron Torres Sports Podcast” this week. Smith said he was looking forward to working with McCarthy but has not yet heard back from the coach.
“I’m a fan of the game, so I know all about (Mike) McCarthy and know what he brings to the table. I’m excited to be in that locker room and facility with him, to really be able to learn from a guy who’s won. I left a message and I’m waiting to hear back from him. He’s a busy guy — he’s got a lot of things going on — we’re still getting all the staff and everything situated, and I’m really looking forward to this year,” Smith said.
McCarthy better get on this. Like Smith said, the new head coach is a busy man, but this is now the second team leader McCarthy hadn’t reached out to yet.
Smith, who played college ball at Notre Dame, also told Torres the Fighting Irish will win another championship soon.
Mike McCarthy had a whirlwind week with the Dallas Cowboys. He went from interviewing with the Cowboys and spending the night at Jerry Jones’ place to holding an introductory press conference on Wednesday. He’s worked on putting together a staff and has some strong coordinators in place.
But one thing McCarthy hadn’t yet done as of Friday was speak with the franchise quarterback. NFL Media’s Jane Slater asked McCarthy whether he had spoken with Dak Prescott, and the new head coach said no.
Prescott did not reach a contract extension with the Cowboys prior to or during the 2019 season and is set to be a free agent. If they are unable to reach a long-term agreement with Prescott, they could always use the franchise tag on him.
Dallas has no intent to let Prescott go.
McCarthy should get to know Prescott considering the quarterback will likely have a long and extremely lucrative future with the team.
Jerry Jones has a reputation for keeping himself in the spotlight and meddling in issues that would normally be handled by a head coach, but new Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy says he is not the least bit concerned about that. In fact, he claims he has never seen or heard of his boss doing it.
McCarthy was asked during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan Friday about the perception that Jones undermines his head coaches, and he said he has seen “zero evidence” of the Cowboys owner doing that.
There’s no doubt Jones is committed to winning, but McCarthy either did not pay attention to the past few seasons in Dallas or he is just saying what Jones would want to hear. It is almost certainly the latter.
One of the reasons Jason Garrett lasted so long with the Cowboys is because Jones’ big personality never seemed to bother him. Even this past season when Jones was openly bashing Garrett and his staff, Garrett continued to take the high road and never once indicated he was unhappy with his boss. There will be times when McCarthy will have to do the same, especially if the team underachieves. That is obviously something he is aware of.
There were numerous rumors that Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy did not get along during the coach’s final days in Green Bay, but if they were ever true, the bad feelings seem to have faded now.
Rodgers said Wednesday he had texted a congratulatory message to his former coach after McCarthy landed the Dallas Cowboys job, and McCarthy sent him a reply. Rodgers even went as far as suggesting that he would be interested in seeing the Packers and Cowboys hold joint practices during training camp.
It’s a far cry from what we were hearing in 2018 as McCarthy was on the way out in Green Bay. After all, this is a quarterback who was reportedly undermining his coach at every turn, though both have denied that it was anywhere near as bad as those reports indicated. Time heals all wounds, though, and Rodgers is pleased for his ex-boss. After all, they did win a Super Bowl together, and now that both sides have moved on, the worst memories have likely faded a bit.
Mike McCarthy was formally introduced as the new head coach of the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, and it was not long before he became overcome with emotion.
McCarthy took a year off from coaching after he was fired by the Green Bay Packers toward the end of the 2018 season, and he fought back tears as he spoke about that at the very beginning of his press conference. He said his wife joked that he wasn’t going to make it 10 words before the tears started flowing.
Before McCarthy spoke, Jerry Jones noted that one of the reasons the Cowboys felt he was the right man for the job was that McCarthy has experience working with a storied franchise.
You could make the argument that McCarthy never deserved to be fired by the Packers, and his ousting probably had mostly to do with him butting heads with Aaron Rodgers. We’ve already explained in detail why we think McCarthy was the right hire for Dallas, and he is clearly looking forward to the opportunity.
The Dallas Cowboys interviewed only one candidate other than Mike McCarthy for their head coaching job, and it would appear they knew who they were hiring from the moment they decided to move on from Jason Garrett. When you look at the overall picture, it’s not hard to see why.
McCarthy took a year off from coaching after he was fired by the Green Bay Packers with four games remaining in 2018. His relationship with Aaron Rodgers appeared to deteriorate over McCarthy’s final two years in Green Bay, and that was the main reason the Packers decided to part ways with him. If the team focused more on McCarthy’s overall body of work, he would probably still be coaching at Lambeau Field.
In 12-plus seasons with the Packers, McCarthy was 125-77-2 in the regular season and 10-8 in the playoffs. He took the team to the postseason nine times, won a Super Bowl in 2010, and reached the NFC Championship Game four times. Coaches with far worse resumes (cough, Marvin Lewis, cough) have managed to keep their jobs for mind-boggling lengths of time.
McCarthy was with the Packers when they made the awkward transition from Brett Favre to Rodgers, and the coach helped Rodgers become a star. The Cowboys are hoping MccArthy can do the same with Dak Prescott, which is likely one of the biggest reasons they hired him.
McCarthy and Rodgers clashed over playcalling not long before McCarthy was let go. But the true issues may have been more about a depleted supporting cast and a two-time NFL MVP’s whose ego became difficult to handle.
Rodgers was openly irritated with some of the moves Green Bay’s front office made prior to the 2018 season, most notably releasing his favorite receiver and good friend, Jordy Nelson. He also seemed bothered by the Packers letting former quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt go without consulting him first. Unless you believe McCarthy was the sole person responsible for those moves, it looks in hindsight like the coach took the fall after a franchise quarterback became generally unhappy with his team’s direction.
The numbers show why Rodgers was upset about losing Nelson. Some of his best seasons were Nelson’s best seasons, including in 2016 when Nelson caught 97 passes for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns. Rodgers threw for 4,428 yards, 40 touchdowns and seven interceptions that year. Nelson then played in only seven games in 2017 after breaking his collarbone, and things went south in 2018 before McCarthy was axed.
However, replacing McCarthy with young offensive mind Matt LaFleur has hardly been a magical fix for Rodgers and the Packers — at least in terms of offensive statistics. When you compare the quarterback’s numbers from 2018 and this season, they are extremely similar. Rodgers completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 4,442 yards, 25 touchdowns and two interceptions in McCarthy’s final year with the team. In LaFleur’s first season this year, Rodgers had a 62.0 completion percentage with 4,002 yards, 26 touchdowns and four picks. The Packers are in the playoffs and could make all of that irrelevant with a championship run, but the point is their issues under McCarthy seemed to run a lot deeper than the head coach.
Outside of Davante Adams, who missed some time this year with an injury, Rodgers doesn’t have many trusted targets. Tight end Jimmy Graham is nowhere near the player he used to be, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison and rookie Allen Lazard combined for just 95 catches this season. Rodgers reportedly had some serious issues with Valdes-Scantling last year, and their chemistry did not improve in 2019.
The point is this: if you look at the reason why the Packers fired McCarthy, the way Rodgers felt about him was almost certainly at or near the top of the list. Rodgers may have grown tired of McCarthy, but that doesn’t change that Mike is a good coach who got solid results in Green Bay. In Dallas, McCarthy will be inheriting an incredibly talented roster. If Rodgers went out and had an MVP season this year with a new coach, that would have reflected poorly on McCarthy. That did not happen, which is not a coincidence. The Cowboys likely looked at that and saw an experienced coach with a winning record who was 7-3 against them during his time in Green Bay.
McCarthy was the right hire.