Mike McCarthy to Replace Jason Garrett in Dallas

It took a full week to happen, and multiple reporters are taking credit for breaking the news at various times, but everyone is in agreement now: Jason Garrett will not return as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 2020. 

MONDAY UPDATE: The Cowboys will be hiring Mike McCarthy as their new head coach, according to multiple sources.

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71 comments, Last at 14 Jan 2020, 2:30pm

#1 by Mountain Time … // Jan 05, 2020 - 11:09pm

Was 2019 Garrett's best season as a coach? I don't really know what went right and wrong for them this year, but advanced metrics all loved the offense so they were doing something well. His other good years (by W-L record) were 2016, when he had the best OL in recent memory to work with, and 2014, which I don't remember anything about. I admit that I WANT it to be true that 2019 was his best work, because I would love the irony. Prescott seems to have taken real steps forward this year, doesn't Garrett get credit for that?

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#2 by justanothersteve // Jan 06, 2020 - 12:50am

I think a lot of the credit for Prescott's improvement has gone to Kellen Moore. I remember a lot of talk earlier this year here about what Moore had brought into the Dallas offense - things like more play action and misdirection - and how they got worse when they went back to the old "safe" stuff wanted by Garrett. 

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#5 by BJR // Jan 06, 2020 - 5:19am

2014 was Romo’s best year, when they actually won a playoff game, before losing narrowly in Green Bay after that Dez Bryant catch. 

I always thought the true mark of Garrett as a coach were the years Romo got hurt, and the team completely cratered. 

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#3 by Stendhal1 // Jan 06, 2020 - 1:21am

ESPN is reporting that the Joneses had a call with ... Jeff Fisher.

Flame on! Of course, he also has some supporters here.

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#4 by BJR // Jan 06, 2020 - 5:10am

I’ve stuck up for Fisher on here when folks have used him as a punchline for jokes about terrible coaching. He deserves better than that. That said, he would be a disastrous, backward-facing appointment for Dallas, and reinforce every suspicion about Jerry only being interested in having a stooge as HC. 

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#17 by RickD // Jan 06, 2020 - 12:43pm

At one point Fisher was legitimately considered a top NFL coach.  His Titans won 56 games from '99-'03.  But his playoff record (esp. after the Super Bowl run) made it seem like his teams were underachieving.

And then he went to the Rams and was dreadful.  

It's hard to stay near the top of the coaching fraternity - Fisher did so for a good while, and then others passed him by.  (FWIW, I think the same is happening to Tomlin, and it happened to Marvin Lewis.)  

I thought the appeal of Mike McCarthy had dwindled a lot over the last five years in Green Bay.  Seems like he should have won more playoff games.  Though at least he wasn't 1-and-done often.  

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#6 by vrao81 // Jan 06, 2020 - 10:25am

Wow they wasted little time hiring McCarthy. But is he really the right man for the job?

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#9 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 06, 2020 - 11:08am

He's a good coach.

The only odd part is he's unlikely to take Jerry Jones' shit.

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#11 by Will Allen // Jan 06, 2020 - 11:17am

Can't wait until some star player trys to avoid McCarthy's attempt to modify the player's behavior, by appealing to Jerry. Certainly nothing McCarthy ever had to deal with in Green Bay.

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#10 by BlueStarDude // Jan 06, 2020 - 11:13am

Based on the reports coming out about McCarthy over the past couple of weeks, he went from someone I had no interest in as a fan, to someone I thoroughly hoped they would at least interview and he became one of the handful of folks I was hoping they would go with. I absolutely am a fan of how he apparently has used his off time, taking the time to reflect and grow—that is the kind of organizational impact the Cowboys need. It may not work, but it's what they need most, a kind of organizational perspective change. I’m psyched.


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#7 by Will Allen // Jan 06, 2020 - 10:32am

Too bad the Cowboys don't have a game with Packers next year.

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#8 by theslothook // Jan 06, 2020 - 10:36am

Let's see if McCarthy turns into Andy Reid. The Cowboys have a lot of talent, though the ownership / GM situation is landmine waiting to explode at any moment.

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#12 by theslothook // Jan 06, 2020 - 11:18am

What happens to Garrett now? He's been a punchline for so long I can't see him being a lead candidate for any of the remaining jobs out there.

Coordinator maybe? But for who?

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#16 by johonny // Jan 06, 2020 - 12:19pm

The last Dallas head coach to get a HC job was Chan Gailey. Gailey was a failure in his second job. Although he's been successful at pulling a pay check post Dallas for a long time. 

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#18 by RickD // Jan 06, 2020 - 12:45pm

If McD takes a head job somewhere?  

Not sure I want that, though.  And Belichick tends to promote from within.  

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#13 by dank067 // Jan 06, 2020 - 11:19am

I was going to sincerely wish McCarthy luck in his next job, but he had to go coach the damn Cowboys!

If he focused on the right things during his year off, and he's name-dropped a few important ones, I think he can do pretty well there. One thing to watch starting out is whether Jerry interferes with hiring his staff, since apparently it's been reported that he'd like a few of the current assistants to stick around...

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#14 by BlueStarDude // Jan 06, 2020 - 11:28am

That's not necessarily a negative though. It seems to me there's a right way to go about that and a wrong way, but putting in a good word and encouraging the new HC to talk to some of the guys already on staff and see if he can't work with them—sounds OK to me. I think Jones even talked Parcells into keeping Zimmer back in ’03. A boss standing by his current employees, not the worst thing in the world. 

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#15 by Bright Blue Shorts // Jan 06, 2020 - 11:45am

Was a video somewhere about what McCarthy has been doing in his season off. Rebuilding his philosophy and ideas from the ground up at his barn in Wisonsin.

And he's been doing it with his coaching team there and getting them involved   So one presumes that he wants them all to have jobs and JJ isn't going to have a say in the matter.

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#19 by theslothook // Jan 06, 2020 - 1:15pm

I have always felt like chasing McDaniels is lazy thinking. Lets count the ways this doesn't seem like it would be a good move

1) He failed in Denver and left them in ruins.

2) He's a coordinator for NE and how well has that worked out? Bill O Brien has had the most success and most Texans fans are lukewarm at best on him.

3) Tom Brady seemed just fine with Charlie Weiss and BOB as his coordinators. Makes you then wonder just how much of a wunderkind is McDaniels?

4) Related to 3) just because a coordinator is part of a successful unit, does not mean he is primarily, or even partially responsible.

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#20 by facw // Jan 06, 2020 - 2:07pm

Frankly I'm surprised anyone is even willing to consider McDaniels for HC after his time with the Colts.

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#22 by Bright Blue Shorts // Jan 06, 2020 - 2:21pm

Maybe they think it's a sign that he's the second coming of Belichick ... you know Jets HC for a day before he resigned

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#21 by Bright Blue Shorts // Jan 06, 2020 - 2:19pm

Think you missed "The Colts hired him and then he reneged".

And "Matt Patricia spent 14 years learning from BB and was DC for six years and look how's that turned out so far for the Lions" ... although perhaps that's incorporated into #4

That said, I'd say McDaniels might be better in a second go round where he doesn't demand to be GM and have total control. He has said that he's learned some lessons from the Denver debacle.

Counterpoint I'd prefer a coach who has rounded experience from multiple organisations, see Zimmer and Arians as examples.

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#23 by theslothook // Jan 06, 2020 - 2:31pm

Some of the decisions were so startlingly awful, I have hard time seeing how they were justified ex ante. Drafting a running back high when he's not some Saquon level prospect. Clashing with your up and coming qb. Trading a future first for a second round pick. Not fixing the defense...

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#30 by BroncosGuyAgain // Jan 06, 2020 - 10:14pm

Josh absolutely HAD to have Alphonso Smith in the second round, so gave up the next year's first rounder to draft him.  And then Alphonso barely saw the field. He was traded at the end of camp the next year for a song (or a Gronkowski brother) as he was obviously not going to make the final roster.

Seattle, in the interim, used the acquired pick to draft possible future Hall of Fame inductee Earl Thomas. 

And this might not even be the epitome of the incompetence of the Josh McHubris era.

And, lest we forget, McDaniels wasn't fired for his toxic mixture of arrogance and incompetence.  He was fired for his dishonesty and weakness of character.

Add in the Indianapolis fiasco and I cannot believe he is even on an interview list.




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#32 by rageon // Jan 06, 2020 - 10:54pm

As a Broncos fan, the whole "fire Shanahan, hire McDaniels, trade Cutler for Orton" thing is up there with strangest things I've witnessed as a fan. It never made any sense to burn it all down and give all the power to McDaniels when you have a legit HoF coach and the real solution was closer to "how about we hire a decent defensive coordinator."

I do still wonder if Bowlen's unfortunate illness had something to do with it.

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#40 by theslothook // Jan 07, 2020 - 11:19am

In some crazy ass backwards way, those sequences of moves ended up leading to a dominant four-year stretch rivaled only by the Patriots in that decade

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#42 by jackiel // Jan 07, 2020 - 11:47am

This is revisionist history.  Shanahan had complete control of the football side of the house for a few years at that point.  So any issues were his fault at that point.  And since the NFL is often like any other workplace, he probably didn't want to take a demotion and allow the club to hire a GM who would control personnel.  In short, he had to go.

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#44 by theslothook // Jan 07, 2020 - 11:54am

Still, he had a successful pedigree and it's not like the team completely bottomed out. Sean Payton survived two 7-9 seasons. 

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#47 by Bright Blue Shorts // Jan 07, 2020 - 12:20pm

Apart from an AFCW winning 13-3 team in 2005 when they defeated the reigning Patriots in the Divisionals,  Shanahan's teams never won a divisional title or playoff game after Elway retired. Ten years that finished off with three average seasons around 8-8.

At some point, you decide as an owner that the incumbent isn't going to repeat his early magic. I'd assume it's the same sort of reason Bowlen moved on from Reeves through Wade to Shanny.

If I'm honest, I think Shanahan might be the most overrated coach there's ever been. Discuss.

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#49 by dank067 // Jan 07, 2020 - 1:01pm

There's gotta be a better pick for most overrated coach than one who won two Super Bowls in one decade, stuck through a rebuild to lead them back to another conference championship game appearance in the next decade, and topped all of that by leading the Washington Redskins to a playoff appearance in the 2010s.

Plus Elway's passing stats were always significantly better whenever Shanahan was around and he had virtually all of the best passing seasons of his career in his mid-to-late 30s after Shanahan came back as head coach.

And there are like a zillion people who deserve credit for the '94 49ers, but he was also the offensive coordinator of one of the all-time great passing offenses...

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#50 by theslothook // Jan 07, 2020 - 1:11pm

I think Shanny is a really good coach. I also give him major plaudits for recognizing that Plummer had a hard sealing and drafted Cutler. A typical team would have just run it back. This statement that he did nothing after Elway retired is the kind of statement that ignores a lot of context. He made the playoffs a lot in a conference that was skewed heavily in the favor of the AFC. 


Shanny's biggest issue is he wanted complete control and made a dozen questionable gm decisions, but none were abjectly terrible. He also correctly swapped Portis for Bailey - something most people thought was a poor decision at the time.



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#51 by rageon // Jan 07, 2020 - 1:37pm

I think Cutler's entire career would look differently if Shanahan stayed. The offense was fine and trending up, they just needed to improve on defense somewhat.

Sure, he didn't win any championships without Elway, but they were very competitive in a tough conference/division.

In terms of personnel, he wasn't great, but wasn't terrible. In his last three years, he had one incredibly good draft, one disaster (Jarvis Moss....), and one solid draft. He was "fine" in that area, I think.



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#52 by Will Allen // Jan 07, 2020 - 2:23pm

Shanahan's greatest weakness was hiring staff on the other side of the ball from his own. This is not uncommon in even otherwise great coaches. Dungy had issues with offensive staff in Tampa, then was fortunate to get hired by a team that had Peyton Manning, at a time when Dungy's old college o-coordinator, Tom Moore, became available.





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#60 by BroncosGuyAgain // Jan 08, 2020 - 9:52pm

Agreed, Will, that Shanny struggled with DCs, particularly at the end.  It also implies that he had no core defensive philosophy of his own.  He seemed to lack a vision to which to marry the right implementer.

Despite what has been suggested above, Shanahan wasn't fired for his recent record or his ability as a coach.  At the time, Pat Bowlen explained (I'm quoting generally and from memory) "it was becoming more and more difficult to discern who worked for whom".

IMHO, Shanahan was a terrific coach and play caller.  Not without flaws.  But he showed me things in terms of adapting his offense and game plan/play calling elements I simply hadn't seen before. (Of course, I watched mainly Broncos games, so maybe 100 guys were ahead of him without me knowing it.  That's possible.)

I think the sub-thread started "why would you fire Shanahan for McDaniels?", more or less.  Shanahan wasn't fired in favor of McDaniels or anyone else.  Bowlen and Ellis saw Shanahan as untenable.  He was fired in favor of . . . anybody.

Bowlen and Ellis then made a bad hire as his replacement.  Also, McDaniels was considered a premium candidate at the time.  That was a mistake.  This wasn't villiany.  Sometimes you make a bad hire.  The decision to move on from Shanahan, good or bad, stands on its own.





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#61 by dryheat // Jan 09, 2020 - 7:30am

This jibes with my memory.  Shanahan's main problem was megalomania.  Which is a bad attribute to possess while the team is in decline.  People will put up with your shit for exactly as long as you're irreplaceable.  Also known as the Dicky Betts principle. 

It was largely assumed that McDaniels wielded control over personnel, but I don't know if that was true.  He had a GM in Brian Xanders who was, at minimum, significantly involved in player acquisition.  I'll defer to Broncos fans, but it's hard for me to believe that Bowlen hired a kid who may still have had his baby teeth and with only Offensive Coordinator experience to run football operations...or at least the draft and free agency.  I also remember the Rocky Mountain region singing his hosannas after the first half-season, so he had his moments on the sideline.

Honestly, it looks to me like McDaniels will be back with New England next season, so we won't find out quite yet what degree of improvement has come from another half decade of experience in a well-run organization.


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#65 by Mountain Time … // Jan 09, 2020 - 7:47pm

Wow, I'd completely forgotten the name Brian Xanders! My memory says Xanders was clearly second-fiddle to McDanials, which would help explain why I'd forgotten about him. I have strong opinions about McDaniels' time in Denver, so I assume I did my due diligence back then to try and understand what was going on with the team, but today I couldn't tell you for sure.

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#66 by Tracy // Jan 10, 2020 - 3:38pm

When the Broncos hired McDaniels, Jim Goodman was the VP of Football Operations/GM. Goodman was fired barely one month after McDaniels was hired, reportedly because McDaniels preferred working with Xanders, who was subsequently promoted from Assistant GM to GM, and it was immediately clear that Xanders worked for McDaniels, not the other way around. I don't know when Bowlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, but the affects of that disease are cleanest explanation I can come up with for Bowlen's willingness to allow an unproven 30-something first time head coach to chase off both his GM and promising young quarterback over the span of 2 months.

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#68 by jackiel // Jan 12, 2020 - 12:04am

Again, this is revisionist history. He fired the de facto GM when he got rid of Shanahan.  And people seemed to have forgotten how much a prick Cutler was - not taking mentorship opportunities from Elway, refusing to take Bowlen's calls when he was trying to resolve the feud with McDaniels, etc.  Would you let one of your employees duck your calls? Probably not...

Many of the decisions that the Broncos made back then made sense.  They just backed the wrong guy.  It happens.


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#25 by Mountain Time … // Jan 06, 2020 - 3:55pm

It's an oversimplification to call his tenure in Denver a failure IMO. He was a fantastic coach, those offenses very much overperforned;Kyle Orton was consistently a top-10 QB, Brandon Lloyd was playing like the best WR in the league. Where he failed was as GM. He made Matt Millen look competent here, and his moves as GM are what destroyed the team for the next few years.

So ideally, he would just coach and have no GM power, but apparently he's insisting on getting the job he's terrible at. I strongly suspect he will not be any better at it the second time around.

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#26 by Bright Blue Shorts // Jan 06, 2020 - 4:23pm

One of the reasons for the Patriots success is Kraft expected Belichick to prove himself before he gave him more power.

That seems a sensible model for an unproven HC.

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#29 by jackiel // Jan 06, 2020 - 10:14pm

Unfortunately, since he's been one of the hottest HC candidates around for the past couple of years, he'll likely get significant personnel power in his next spot.  IMO anyone who trades UP to take Tim Tebow in the first round in order to play him at QB has zero business playing a major role in personnel.

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#62 by dryheat // Jan 09, 2020 - 7:32am

One literally would have been justified in saying the same thing about Lamar Jackson last year.  There's no reason, other than it truly would have been visionary, to believe an offense designed around Tebow's strengths would have necessarily failed.

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#64 by ssereb // Jan 09, 2020 - 1:12pm

There's nothing revolutionary about the triple option. The military academies and Georgia Tech have been running it for years.

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#67 by jackiel // Jan 11, 2020 - 11:51pm

Aside from the fact that Tebow lacked NFL-level arm strength, athleticism, speed, agility, and release time on his passes, you might be correct.  Lamar Jackson was a much better college player and scored highly on the above attributes.  Unfortunately, people seem to think that winning the Heisman from a school like Louisville, being a 2-time Heisman finalist, and being a 2-time conference player of the year in a league that also had Watson and Winston while also playing in a pro-style offense represents taking a risk. Yet another QB (Josh Allen) was taken 20 picks before him despite not being good at core QB skills, a worse runner, and a worse athlete.

But I guess these are all details.

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#70 by dryheat // Jan 14, 2020 - 7:34am

In reply to by rageon

Yeah...what a weird comment.  Tebow is such a bad athlete that he can walk over to another sport and compete despite not having played said sport for 9 years or whatever it was.  Tebow had issues....namely reading defenses and accuracy....but if he had a creative enough offensive coordinator/head coach that minimized such things, he could have been featured in an offense very much like Baltimore's....and nobody was a bigger Tebow-basher than I was.

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#71 by jackiel // Jan 14, 2020 - 2:30pm

I fundamentally disagree.  Tebow's athleticism was at the TE/FB/LB level while Lamar's is elite for any skill position.  There's an ocean of difference between the 2 and Baltimore's offense would significantly less effective with prime Tebow back there because of it. Tebow's long throwing motion always put a very low ceiling on what you could do with him at QB in addition to his accuracy/defense reading issues.  Any way you slice it, Tebow was significantly overdrafted by McDaniels.

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#39 by Bright Blue Shorts // Jan 07, 2020 - 10:28am

Panthers said to be signing Matt Rhule so that leaves two jobs ... Cleveland and the Giants.

I wonder if anyone in Cleveland said "let's hire Marvin Lewis" ? That seems like a damn good idea to me if he's willing to go there.

But more likely they're hanging out for Josh McD and that doesn't seem to bode well for any party in my opinion. The only thing I can see McD adding is a huge understanding of offensive concepts and implementing them with Baker.  Trouble is, after the Cutler disaster, Baker strikes me as just the sort of QB that McD will clash with for not being Bradylike in his professionalism.

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#24 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 06, 2020 - 2:51pm

I liked Marvin Lewis more, I think.

1. He has a history of success in deeply dysfunctional organizations.
2. He has a history of success as a Bengal.
(Cincy is 2-14 in Lewis's before and after seasons)

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#27 by justanothersteve // Jan 06, 2020 - 6:59pm

Just WOW. I didn't see that coming at all. I was honestly expecting a defensive coach (Lewis?) who would keep Moore as OC. It's not like Dallas had a bad offense last year.

It does make sense in one respect. McCarthy is one of the best QB coaches around even now. The question is what is Dallas now going to do at QB? I don't know if McCarthy work with Prescott who has real issues keeping consistent accuracy. It's a bit much to expect Prescott to sign a "prove it" deal when he was considered a borderline MVP candidate for much of the season.

There was a really good article about McCarthy around Thanksgiving from either SI or Peter King talking with McCarthy about what he'd learned in his year off. He talked about actually sitting down with analytics people and finding out what it means (which means it's not just a buzz word for him anymore) and how he plans on incorporating all the concepts others were incorporating into their game plans during the last decade. They didn't mention on how in the past he would hear that criticism, put in one misdirection play (which often worked) just to show he could do it, then forget about it the rest of the year, so I am curious if he's truly going to incorporate all the new hotness into his game planning or its just talk.

I was pretty annoyed listening to the MMQB podcast today criticizing MMC for not being as good as Sean Peyton with backup QBs and not hearing McCarthy getting any credit for his handling of getting the Packers to the playoffs in 2013 by picking Matt Flynn off the scrap heap when Rodgers missed half the season, but giving Peyton huge accolades for winning with Bridgewater who is probably better than at least 1/3 of the current NFL starting QBs. McCarthy may have his issues with in-game adjustments and his time-management in games is practically Reidesque. But he's better than most head coaches when it comes to game planning and preparation, and until his last 1.5 years in GB he got the absolute most out of his rosters.

Probably the biggest question is how well he can work with Jerry. Maybe Steve Jones can slip him into a retirement home where JJ can spend his time with the other old-timers about the good old early 90's when Dallas was competing for Super Bowls annually.

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#36 by ammek // Jan 07, 2020 - 4:54am

In reply to by justanothersteve

Moore is still under contract isn't he? I think McCarthy will be under pressure to retain him; perhaps he would like to anyway. However, McCarthy mostly called his own plays in Green Bay, and when the duties passed to someone else it typically didn't go well. I wonder if he and Moore can stay on the same page. We'll see. Playcalling was certainly one of McCarthy's strengths.

His assistants in Green Bay were unextraordinary. There wasn't a lot of personnel movement from one year to the next, and because McCarthy was essentially his own co-ordinator, the opportunities for promotion were limited. Thus he wasn't able to attract (or find) the kind of talent that would infuse his offense with new ideas or challenge his way of doing things. That had to come from above, from the GM. Which in Dallas is probably not good news.

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#56 by justanothersteve // Jan 08, 2020 - 1:15am

I don't know if it was FO pressure. But it looks like Kellen Moore will be the Cowboys OC. I give McCarthy 2.5 years max before he's fired in favor of Moore. Moore's retention has JJ's fingerprints all over it. 

I do agree that McCarthy's staff was underwhelming. Philbin's crash-and-burn didn't help that appearance. I still think Campen is a great OL coach. Trgovac was also pretty good. But MMC paled to Holmgren's ability to spot and develop coaching talent. 


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#28 by Stendhal1 // Jan 06, 2020 - 10:10pm

Normally I distrust hiring Name Players (as athletes or management), but in this case hiring a coach of McCarthy’s pedigree sends a needed signal that he is in charge and can’t be circumvented by direct appeal to the GM / owner. Unless, of course, Jerrah walks all over him.  Also, McCarthy was a head coach relatively recently and for only one team, and was interviewed apparently seriously for other teams.  Thus, he can’t be viewed as a retread or a desperate-for-any-job hire.

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#31 by jackiel // Jan 06, 2020 - 10:36pm

I completely disagree with this.  The King interview revealed how desperate he was to get back in the game.  I'm not surprised that he took the Dallas deal pretty much as soon as it was offered instead of waiting to hear back from other clubs about their respective decisions.  The man wants to coach.

To be very clear, Dallas is not a plum job. The owner and his son play a significant role in personnel, coach selection, and how the money gets spent. The biggest impediment to Dallas's success is that their approach results in a top heavy roster that cannot withstand injuries to key starters.  (Example: the offense falls off a cliff each time Tyron Smith misses a game.)  The coaching selections are how you end up with a d coordinator (Marinelli) who doesn't call signals and DB coach who does (Richard).  The owner also prioritizes marketing/business considerations over winning.  Example: in 2014, Dallas allowed the league to schedule a road game with NYG on Sunday night right before their annual Thanksgiving home game with Philly 4 days later.  The odds of the team being remotely prepared to face Chip Kelly were near zero.  The resulting 33-10 blowout was not a surprise.

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#35 by Stendhal1 // Jan 07, 2020 - 1:58am

If you are right about these circumstances — as I think you are in part — then what better coach could the Cowboys have hired in the circumstances?  And would the probability of a coach maintaining authority with the players be higher or lower if the coach did not have a winning resume and name as does McCarthy? Surely it would be lower.  That’s a major reason why I wrote it was a positive hire for the team.

But I think you’re right only in part.  I am not as persuaded by the down side of having to report to the owner and his son, or their involvement in coaching hires.  For better or worse, the owners in Dallas are not just the owners; they are also management.  Many coaches report to or are at least heavily affected by the team’s general manager, or are selected by the general manager.  Indeed, every coach is selected by someone else, someone higher up in the organization.  The Joneses’ track record on drafting and buying players as the team’s general managers is not bad at all ... unless one thinks Jason Garrett coached up a talent-poor team to DVOA success.

Many teams have salary cap management issues; the Cowboys’ problems have not been so acute as to lead to a collapse.  If there was one big thing the Joneses did wrong in management, it is actually (1) also reflective of an asset, and (2) has now been fixed.  What they did wrong was stay too loyal for too long to a coach (and friend) rather than cast him aside.  If anything, this made the coaching position more attractive to potential candidates.  (Surely interviewee Marvin Lewis understood!)

On the topic of subordinate coaches, Mike McCarthy already has replaced the top management on the defensive side, bringing in Mike Nolan.  It’s not necessarily a good hire, but it appears to be a McCarthy choice (Nolan had hired McCarthy in SF, Mike reciprocated).  Also, another team this year had an assistant coach who was not the defensive coordinator (help) call defensive signals.  (Raheem Morris on the Falcons.)  I regarded the Cowboys allowing Kris Richard to call defensive signals as a smart move to try to keep an up and coming talent.

One example over a 25 year history does not prove Jones prioritizes marketing over winning.  I’d need to know more to conclude that.  You certainly can’t say Jones has not invested money in the team, on and off the field.  The Cowboys aren’t the Bengals or Raiders, say.  They aren’t cheapskates or poverty-stricken.  The closest point I can come up with in terms of letting marketing influence performance was when Jerry Jones almost selected local star Johnny Manziel.  Fortunately, nepotism was an asset, as his son talked him out of that and into drafting Zack Martin — a home run selection.

To my way of thinking, that so many other teams this year were interested in McCarthy is independent verification of his perceived valuable status as a potential coach.  That McCarthy took a job offered to him does not reflect desperation.  Go ask Doug Marrone about turning down a (indeed, leaving an existing) HC job because surely another position will be open.  

To be clear, I am not a Cowboys fan.  I’d just as soon see them lose and Jones fall flat on his face.  Unfortunately for that hope, the team appears to have a QB (which the maligned Joneses found in the fourth round), an offensive line (in my view, the foundation of any good team), receivers, a big salary running back if that matters, and some building blocks on defense.  It has assets.

Dallas has now has improved its coaching. It was able to do so because, IMO, it was a desirable job.  You don’t have to take my word for it; you can ask FO alumnus / kickass ESPN columnist Bill Barnwell.  He wrote a December 12 column ranking the desirability of the 9 potential or actual open coaching positions.  Which team did this expert rate as most desirable?  The Dallas Cowboys.

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#37 by BlueStarDude // Jan 07, 2020 - 9:59am

Jones has a history of deferring to his coaches in the draft. Some of the worst picks have been from him doing that, whether going back to Parcells and the Bobby Carpenter pick or just last year with Trysten Hill (though there's still a chance that can turn out alright). The personnel department is always heavily involved as well; Jones is not a rogue owner/GM in that regard. 

The Jones problem is all about authority, player perception of who has authority, and Jones's endless public statements. But McCarhty became disgruntled in Green Bay when no one in the front office would ever step out and address some of the tough personnel decisions that were made. So there could be a benefit in having someone like Jones to take some of the heat when needed.  

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#38 by Will Allen // Jan 07, 2020 - 10:12am

Stephen Jones is a competent executive, and it was his increasing influence which staved off sinking back into 5-11ville after Parcells left. Jerel is still a trainwreck who makes the roster hard to coach, and is prone to crappy personnel moves, but his son has acted as a pretty decent buffer. However, I suspect Jerel is behind their current debacle, which resulted in 40 million in cap space over the next three years devoted to a running back who isn't explosive enough to be worth that, while the contracts for the qb and number 1 receiver are about to expire. To get both of those guys signed  is likely  going to foreclose adding veteran talent to the defense. 

Points: 0

#41 by BlueStarDude // Jan 07, 2020 - 11:33am

They have the 5th most cap space for 2020. They can resign Dak and Coop and add an impact player or two on defense (or resign Jones and Quinn if they want to go that way). 

Points: 0

#43 by theslothook // Jan 07, 2020 - 11:53am

In reply to by BlueStarDude

It depends on how they distribute the cap hit. Idk why they let Dak twist in the wind all season. Were they hoping he played poorly or got injured? That would run counter to their sb hopes.

Points: 0

#48 by BlueStarDude // Jan 07, 2020 - 12:40pm

Dak played poorly for two seasons. I don’t think it was unwise to see how this season played out. He improved greatly, but I think he still clearly has limitations. I’m not 100% sold on him. Without breaking down video a lot more, I’ve no idea if in the years ahead we'll get seasons 2 and 3 Dak, or season 4 not-on-the-road-in-cool-weather Dak. 

Points: 0

#46 by Will Allen // Jan 07, 2020 - 12:13pm

In reply to by BlueStarDude

If Prescott is  inclined to maximize his contract his cap number may exceed 35 million a year. Cooper could approach 20 million.

Points: 0

#45 by jackiel // Jan 07, 2020 - 12:07pm

In general, I think that the Cowboys made a decent hire since only a seasoned HC could put up with the circus there.  The Cowboys’ roster problems are acute.  They like handing out massive extensions to their draft picks and this philosophy is driven by ownership.  This leaves little money for the back half of the roster.  Historically, if everyone stays healthy, they can win 12+ games.  If some key people miss time, then you’re looking at 5-9 wins.  The problem is that players tend to get injured in the NFL, so not having adequate backup talent is managerial malpractice.

Your comment about the Falcons means you are likely a Dallas apologist.  In Atlanta, Quinn gave up playcalling duties because his defense was getting rocked early in the season.  They didn’t have a defensive coordinator on staff.  You cannot argue that Dallas’s approach this year wasn’t wasteful.  There’s a reason why other teams don’t copy this approach.

1 example in 25 years?!  How about running off one of the best coaches in NFL history (Johnson) for starters?  I could on and on….

Points: 0

#54 by Stendhal1 // Jan 07, 2020 - 10:36pm

If you believe Skip Bayless — and on this rare occasion, I do, because he was reporting real time on the scene — Jerry ran off Jimmy Johnson due to ego fights over credit for the team’s success, not marketing reasons.  It was a bad marketing move if anything, and a just plain bad move, but it wasn’t a marketing-driven move.  No one was screaming to market Barry Switzer!

I stand by my call on coach staffing. I am not a Dallas apologist; rather, I think Kris Richards is an asset and even Dallas can do something right.  Keeping young coaching assets is a benefit.  I’d bet it helped Kris develop to also have Rod Marinelli around as a mentor; we’ll see from his future career.  Also, I don’t see how wastefulness can be an issue for coaching. There’s no salary cap for coaches, so extra spending does not hurt the team.  I’d anything, it’s another sign that notwithstanding his faults, at least Jerry Jones will spend money to try to win (and, despite his tough guy mien, hates to fire people).  That makes the job more attractive.  Also, I’m sure I can find other similar examples, including outside of football.  There are often discrepancies between formal organization titles and actual responsibilities.

I refer to the posts above on the salary cap situation.  Dallas has had issues.  So have other teams.  Dallas is now, and has been, better off than many teams.   There are always pluses and minuses for a job.  Again, Bill Barnwell assessed the pluses and minuses and rated the Cowboys the top slot.  I hope he’s wrong, and personally if I owned a team (!) I’d hire a younger coach with new ideas like a Jimmy Johnson, but I have to give some credit here to Jones.

Points: 0

#55 by theslothook // Jan 07, 2020 - 10:53pm

I'm curious why Richard deserves credit for this Dallas Cowboys defense. Given their talent it seems like they've massively underachieved. I don't follow the team closely but they have quite a few good stars on the team you would think

Points: 0

#63 by Will Allen // Jan 09, 2020 - 9:42am

The exceptional talent is on offense. It has been a very, very, long time since they have had an overall talented defense.

Points: 0

#59 by jackiel // Jan 08, 2020 - 6:40pm

The owner having a pissing match with a SB-winning coach over who should get the credit is a marketing move (i.e. the owner wants the world to know that he’s a genius).

Sorry, Rod Marinelli is one of the best defensive coaches on the planet and has proven it for over a decade.  Kris Richard is definitely not on his level at this time.  Seeing Marinelli reduced to chilling on the sideline and cashing paychecks is not ideal.  I don’t know how you can disagree with me on this.

Yes, the Cowboys are not penny pinchers.  However, the way they structure their roster makes it difficult to get a lot of solid mid-tier contributors – the kind of guys who can come in off the bench and play at an above-replacement level.  Of course, the way that roster was coached made it difficult for them to beat teams in which they did not have a significant talent advantage.

Points: 0

#33 by rageon // Jan 06, 2020 - 11:32pm

No extra point for this, as just a coordinator, but seems crazy the Rams would fire Wade.

Points: 0

#34 by justanothersteve // Jan 07, 2020 - 12:27am

I agree. Not normally an XP, but Phillips isn't an ordinary coordinator. He should be the #1 option for any available position. I will go into the Contact Us option and request one. 

Points: 0

#57 by BJR // Jan 08, 2020 - 10:58am

I can only imagine it is a cost issue. McVay signed a new contract last year, which presumably made him one of the highest earning coaches in the league. And if Wade wasn't the highest paid coordinator in the league, then he must have been close. Now that his new stadium is complete, Kroenke may be tightening the purse strings a little.

Plus Wade is 72, you have to move on at some point.

Points: 0

#58 by rageon // Jan 08, 2020 - 1:25pm

And now John Fossell is gone from the Rams as well. Very strange for them to let two guys who are among the best leave. 

Points: 0

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