Does Mike McCarthy deserve to stay with the Dallas Cowboys?

Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The year 2020 hasn’t gone well for the Dallas Cowboys or Mike McCarthy

If during the offseason you told me the Dallas Cowboys would own a record of 4-9 this season, I would have a good laugh. Unfortunately, that is where the team stands. That brings up questions surrounding the coaching staff, most notably head coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Starting off the year, NFL teams had a shortened offseason training because of Covid-19. That included the cancellation of all preseason games. That time would be well spent by the Cowboys’ new coaches by implementing their new systems.

It is McCarthy’s first season leading the Cowboys, and it has not gone according to plan. The team started the season with a record of 2-3. Dallas scored and gave up 30+ points in all but one game, which was Week 1.

The offense was flourishing; meanwhile, the defense was plummeting. Fans and analysts were critical of the defense, but everyone praised the offense. No one would have guessed the two extremes they have reached.

Week 5 marked a huge turn for the Cowboys’ offense. That’s because quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury. It was a season that he was on pace to pass quarterback Peyton Manning’s record of 5,477 passing yards in a season by 462 yards.

While Dak’s injury sure had a massive impact on the team, he was only one of many injuries that hit the team. Add in four starting offensive linemen missing games, with both offensive tackles missing the season. That’s only injuries on the offense.

On the defensive side of the ball, there were some troubling injuries as well. The top two defensive tackles got injured for the season. One came in training camp while the other happened in Week 1. Add in two linebackers and the top two cornerbacks missing games.

Injuries aren’t an excuse

Of course, a head coach should be able to rally the team despite injuries. Look at how the San Francisco 49ers handled their injuries. Oh, wait, they only have one more win than Dallas.

Well, how about calling offensive plays on fourth down? That’s something that former head coach Jason Garrett never did and got bashed for not doing so. Not every attempt will work, but those that do help the team a ton.

It is a difficult task for a head coach with an injury-plagued team, limited time during the offseason, and in their first season to have success. While the roster on paper looked great, there are too many factors that point to an “unlucky” season.

Every head coach for the Cowboys had the opportunity to coach more than one season. The fewest seasons a coach had was two. That was Chan Gailey back in ’98 and ’99.

If I still haven’t convinced you, then listen to the words of someone in the organization. COO Stephen Jones spoke on 105.3 The Fan and gave us all a clear answer.

"“There will be absolutely no change with coach McCarthy. I am surprised someone would question these unprecedented situations that everybody’s been in.”"

Then again, who would say they are going to fire someone out in the blue? After all, Adam Gase is still the head coach of the New York Jets. There is no way he will outlast McCarthy.

McCarthy should, at the very least, be given one more season in Dallas. An opportunity to see how the former Lombardi Trophy winner handles a bounceback season would be huge for him and the Cowboys.

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In doing this, we will see how the head coach leads a healthy team. The chances of back-to-back injury-plagued seasons are slim, but not impossible. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, and McCarthy leads Dallas back to the playoffs for the 2021 season.