By now, you’ve seen the highlights and box score from the first Dallas Cowboys preseason game. In their 17-7 loss against the Denver Broncos, the Cowboys had 17 penalties for 129 yards. Starters or not, that is not ideal considering flags were allegedly head coach Mike McCarthy’s main focus this offseason.
Some people are shrugging it off as Week 1 and others think McCarthy shouldn’t be writing things off so easily. One person who weighed in on the conversation is ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum. The ESPN reporter and former New York Jets GM doesn’t think McCarthy can just sweep this penalty-heavy performance under the rug.
In fact, Tannenbaum thinks that if the penalties continue, the Cowboys coach is essentially asking to be fired. Here’s what the ex-GM said on “Get Up” Tuesday morning.
ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum says Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy could be fired midseason if penalty issues continue
Host Mike Greenberg points out the recurring storyline and argues the flags are a legitimate issue and not just a game one coincidence. He then throws it to Tannenbaum:
"“If I’m Jerry Jones, I simply would say ‘coach McCarthy, at the end of the year, we gave you the answers to the test that if self-inflicted wounds don’t change, we’re not firing you, you’re firing yourself.’ Right now, what coach McCarthy is simply doing is putting himself on the clock. I’m not talking about the end of the season. I’m talking about an in-season move.When you can’t handle the clock and you lead the nation in penalties, it’s unacceptable. They’re not going to fire Mike McCarthy, he’s firing himself.”"
Despite Jones opening Oxnard press conferences with a strong backing of his head coach, the reality is that McCarthy needs to prove himself, and do so quickly. Not only do the Cowboys have two viable in-house options in Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn as interim options, but Sean Payton’s return to football feels inevitable.
The question for the Joneses should be how long of a leash are they willing to give McCarthy. What are they willing to allow before a midseason move is made? With two big games against the Bucs and Bengals at the top of the Cowboys’ schedule, this roster won’t have time to ease into the season. The discipline needs to be addressed now, and quite frankly, should have already been addressed.
Do you think continued penalties could get McCarthy fired midseason, or is this more of a player issue?