FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a triumphant season in which they finished 12-5, won the NFC East and are preparing for a home playoff game.
So why are we talking about the possibility of firing the head coach?
“My answer,” writes respected SI colleague Albert Breer in answering a question about Dallas dumping Mike McCarthy, “is … maybe.”
But … why?
There remains in Dallas, among some onlookers, a weird anti-McCarthy bias. And it is misplaced. Outside of the clock-management issues (that plague virtually every head coach), McCarthy has almost literally pushed every single right button this year in contributing to the building of a great roster and the overseeing of its success.
One high-placed Cowboys source reached out to me to react.
“That’s completely asinine,” he said of the notion of McCarthy being robbed of his job in the event of a loss to 3-point underdog San Francisco on Sunday. “There’s no way Jerry has spent even a second thinking that.”
That leads me to a central misunderstanding about owner Jerry Jones: Some misunderstand him to be “impetuous” - the sort to overreact to a loss by ordering heads to roll.
From Jimmy Johnson to Dave Campo to Jason Garrett, there is evidence that the reverse is true; Jones is, as much as anything, a loyalty guy.
“I found my guy,” Jones recently said about McCarthy, who has three years left on his contract, works well with the Jones family and of whom Jerry recently told me, “He’s a Super Bowl coach. He knows how to build it.”
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Yes, the Joneses are also enamored of new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and if there was a way to persuade him to turn down a head coaching job (in Denver or elsewhere) they would do it; but there really aren’t many ways.
Breer asks, “Would they make (Quinn) the head coach to ensure it?”
But Breer’s own piece asks that question but doesn’t commit to an answer. Unless one counts “maybe” - or something else he writes, that Dallas won’t really do this “but it wouldn’t surprise me if they’d be tempted to do it” - as answers. Which they are not.
There is some wisdom in my business of the “maybe.” Is there some incredible when-pigs-fly circumstance in which McCarthy is booted from The Star? Is that reason enough for me to CYA with a “maybe”?
The Joneses love Quinn. They also love offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. But again, coordinators graduating to become head coaches is how football works. And the Joneses also love McCarthy.
Breer fairly points out that McCarthy’s success means “he given himself some breathing room.”
I say he’s earned that. I say Cowboys ownership agrees that he’s earned that. And I say the rest of us ought to back away from our “asinine” biases and our silly guesses and watch McCarthy do his thing.
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