With the start of the 2022 NFL season just over two months away, all 32 teams are looking to make their mark across the league’s landscape. Having already assembled the majority of their respective 90-man rosters, the process for teams’ determining which players will be chosen to represent each franchise for the upcoming season is about to begin; as training camps are set to open in late July.
Though the players on the field ultimately make or break the plays, they are most often put in the position to either succeed or fail by their head coach. Strategies, schemes and decisions can sometimes be the difference between victory and defeat. Unsurprisingly, teams with the right coach for the job are almost always the most successful.
In an effort to evaluate which of the NFL’s 32 teams are best positioned for coaching success, CBS Sports submitted their pre-season rankings for each of the league’s head coaches. Their assessment was divided into four tiers and each coach was ranked from worst to first based on how they would "draft" them for this season. CBS based their evaluation on the criteria of both trust, and positioning for success.
For the Dallas Cowboys, coach Mike McCarthy ranked 18th on their list.
CBS Sports’ Assessment on McCarthy:
18. Mike McCarthy (Cowboys)
Season: 3rd with Cowboys, 16th as HC
Career record: 143-92-2 (.608) | Playoffs: 10-9 (1-0 in Super Bowls)
The pendulum has probably swung a little too far in terms of criticizing McCarthy; even if he did have Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, he's now compiled nine different double-digit-win seasons, including 2021 with Dallas. He's also wisely given plenty of control to play-caller Kellen Moore. And yet, with so much talent at his disposal, ill-timed, old-school decisions have too often doomed him. Maybe that's why team owner Jerry Jones publicly ponders about canning him for his own defensive coordinator.
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Though he clearly has his detractors, McCarthy guided the Cowboys to a 12-5 record and a division title. Dallas swept the entire NFC East in the regular season. However, they were upset at home by the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs in the Wild Card round.
In some ways, McCarthy is facing a season in which one of his final coaching decisions of 2021 may serve as a referendum on his 2022 status at the team’s helm. The Cowboys’ playoff defeat ended in controversial fashion, with the clock running out following a quarterback draw as they attempted to spike the ball to stop the clock to permit a final pass play. McCarthy was particularly criticized for his decision to use a quarterback draw with 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter. McCarthy believed that the Cowboys had sufficient time to run another, easier play closer to the end zone. Despite defending his decision, the guess was ultimately unsuccessful.
Contrary to some popular belief, McCarthy can redeem himself by choosing to evenly distribute the offensive responsibilities between quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game, and the running game led by running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. However, if he continues to struggle with such decisions moving forward, team owner Jerry Jones may choose to cut his losses - a fate avoidable if McCarthy proves to be far better than the No. 18 guy in the league.
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