Dallas Cowboys fans are trying in earnest to make peace with Mike McCarthy returning as head coach next season and the fact that Dan Quinn is expected to return as defensive coordinator if he doesn't land a coaching gig.
A simple reading of the tea leaves leading up to McCarthy's all-important meeting with Jerry Jones hinted that his job was safe, but folks hoped that Jones would make a change given the sheer embarrassment Sunday's playoff loss brought upon the franchise.
How can Jones say he's obsessed with winning a championship when he's choosing run it back with the same regime that's come nowhere close to making a Super Bowl in three attempts? It'd be one thing if the Cowboys were knocking on the door, but they haven't so much as sniffed reaching the NFC Championship Game.
The Super Bowl was a big talking point during McCarthy's end-of-season press conference on Thursday. As much as we want to rail on the head coach for trying to sell that this team is close to winning, it's his job to give the media what it wants to hear. It was typical coach PR speak.
What we can rail on McCarthy for, though, is his analysis of Sunday's loss to the Packers. One comment from McCarthy left fans dumbfounded.
Did Cowboys' Mike McCarthy throw Dan Quinn under the bus while explaining playoff loss?
There's so much wrong with that statement.
First, McCarthy makes it seem like the Cowboys played with too much energy. That they seemingly wanted to win the game with one play. Is it not the head coach's job to have his team in the right frame of mind for a big game? McCarthy obviously can't play for his players, but a lack of execution in big moments has been a common theme for Dallas with McCarthy at the head of the operation.
Perhaps McCarthy was referring to the defense because his offensive approach wasn't indicative of one that chased big plays. Dak Prescott's deep shot to Brandin Cooks is the only attempt at a big play we can recall from the first half.
If anything, McCarthy's offensive was conservative, especially after the Packers jumped out to a 7-0 lead. In fact, the Cowboys' second pass on second down came with less than four minutes remaining in the first half when they trailed 20-0. See the hypocrisy in McCarthy's statement?
Unless McCarthy is totally oblivious and ignorant to the game he called on offense -- which isn't inconceivable -- we're led to believe he was talking about the defense. Would that not be equivalent to throwing Dan Quinn under the bus?
Did Quinn have the defense too hungry to make a splash play early in the game? It's possible, but it doesn't explain the multiple busted coverages, maddening personnel groupings, lack of in-game adjustments, getting gashed by the run and the pass rush not being able to get home.
We're not sure what McCarthy was getting at with this statement, but that opens the door for speculation. If he didn't throw Quinn under the bus, it seems he intended to send a message to the defensive play-caller.