The Dallas Cowboys’ decision to hire Mike McCarthy as their new head coach in January 2020 was highly criticized, yet the coach has made a dramatic improvement as the team vies for a third consecutive playoff berth.
While many discounted him for the steep drop-off he experienced in Green Bay, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believes that time may have helped him become a better football coach.
“He certainly had skins on the wall, but the biggest thing was he had the time away from the game,” Jones said during his weekly Tuesday morning appearance on Dallas’ 105.3 The Fan. “And boy, he got in there and took the time off and really realized just what it was about to not be in the NFL.”
McCarthy coached the Green Bay Packers for 13 seasons and won a Super Bowl, yet was let go during the 2018-19 season. He spent 2019 away from football before taking the Dallas job.
Jones likened his hiatus to a player recovering from a significant injury, particularly Michael Irvin’s 1989 knee injury.
“When he rehabbed and had that knee injury that he had in his second year, he said it was the greatest thing to happen to his career because he lived and died every day and realized how much he missed the chance to have that career and be a part of the NFL and be a part of football,” Jones remarked. “Michael Irvin says that did more for his career than anything.”
Irvin went on to have one of the most decorated careers of any NFL wide receiver, accumulating almost 12,000 receiving yards and winning three Super Bowls before being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
Entering his fourth year at the helm, McCarthy was tasked with restructuring an offense that had been turnover-prone in recent seasons after letting go of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Analyst Brian Schottenheimer was elevated to the offensive coordinator role, but McCarthy decided to reclaim the play-calling duties.
While it’s still early, the Cowboys are off to a 2-0 start with two blowout victories this season, and the offense showed steady improvement from Week 1 to Week 2.
“I just can’t tell how proud I am of the job he’s doing,” Jones said. “As I’ve said many times, I’ve never seen anybody be as busy as he’s had to be during the offseason and during training camp — being the head coach as well as revamping, to a degree, what we’re doing offensively and putting nuances in that are a part of what he is. It just felt so good for him to have the success he had out there the other night as the play-caller and head coach.”
— The Cowboys have released running back Ronald Jones. Jones signed with Dallas in the offseason but never played a regular season game for the team after being suspended for the season opener.
— Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb is expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering a gruesome knee injury in Monday night’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
— The Los Angeles Rams are looking to trade running back Cam Akers.
— The NFL has filed a grievance against the NFLPA, alleging that the association advised running backs to “exaggerate injuries.”
— Detroit Lions defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson will miss the rest of the season with a torn pectoral.
— The New Orleans Saints have held their opponents to fewer than 20 points in 10 consecutive games.