The Cowboys’ opening stretch will be crucial for Mike McCarthy
To keep his job, McCarthy is going to need to have this team win big games early in the year. It sounds simple enough, but it’s going to be a tough task as Dallas opens their season with what is shaping up to be a murderer’s row of opponents.
Four of the first six teams that the Cowboys play made the playoffs in 2021 and the other two are division rivals. Dallas will play each of the last two Super Bowl champions and the Cincinnati Bengals (reigning champions of the AFC) all within the opening five weeks of the season.
The schedule lightens up considerably following their Week Nine bye, but only after they make trips up north to Green Bay and Minnesota. If the Cowboys have any hope of repeating as NFC champions, they are going to need to bank wins away early.
To complicate things, McCarthy isn’t going to have a ton of help either. To start, this team is just simply not as good as it was a year ago. And, now he’s also going to have to get them prepared to play without All-Pro tackle, Tyron Smith, or adequate depth at wide receiver. There’s a recipe for disaster here and envisioning a worst-case scenario isn’t exactly difficult.
It’s not inconceivable to see a situation where the Cowboys start very slow, and it leaves Jerry Jones has no choice but to make a move at head coach. This isn’t exactly new ground Dallas. They fired Wade Phillips in 2010 following a season where Dallas won a home playoff game. At the end of the day, the team quit on Phillips and Jones fired him following a brutal 1-7 start to the year.
But will Jones pull the trigger after vehemently stating his faith in McCarthy?