It has been just 30 months since Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones pulled the trigger and made Mike McCarthy the ninth head coach in Cowboys history. To most, it feels much longer than that.
The last two years have been rocky, to say the least, and while blame can be spread across many people, McCarthy has been the subject of consistent criticism for his coaching performance. From clock management to ongoing penalty issues to infamous play call blunders, there are many areas where the new head coach has fallen short of expectations.
Pressure on the Cowboys leader has built up so much that the front office, specifically Jerry Jones, have even put the coach’s job in question at times. This has caused endless rumors and forced McCarthy himself to address them.
To put it bluntly, this is a make-or-break season for him, and while that may be unfair due to the roster being significantly downgraded, that seems to be the reality of the situation. Cowboys fans should be prepared for anything in regards to McCarthy, potentially even a mid-season move if things are bleak enough.
While it may be tough to imagine the Jones family walking away from a coach this early, the Cowboys need to start winning games. If things get bad, here are five candidates that could interest them enough to make the move happen.
5 Mike McCarthy replacements the Cowboys should have on speed dial
5. Doug Nussmeier, QB Coach for Cowboys
One thing every Cowboys fan should know is how much the front office loves incumbent quarterbacks coach, Doug Nussmeier.
He first joined the Cowboys in 2018 as the tight ends coach. Since then, many in the organization credit him with the steady development of TE’s like Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. In 2020, they promoted him to be the new QB coach for McCarthy, and the praise has continued.
He is well respected and gaining responsibility every season. It was just recently said that he, not offensive coordinator Kellen Moore or McCarthy would be in full control of the red-zone offense this year.
The obvious question here, however, is if you make a move at the head coach position and you fill it with an offensive assistant, why not Kellen Moore? The answer is quite simple.
Nussmeier would likely only become the HC through a mid-season firing of McCarthy, and it is very common for teams to pass up their big-name OC in favor of a positional coach. Why? Because with so much change already happening, it is probably best not to rock the boat even more by creating an additional opening at the second-highest coaching position.
Nussmeier is respected, well-liked, and “safe” in the scenario I just laid out. It would not shock me in the least to see him get his second promotion as a member of the Cowboys coaching staff.