In our previous post on Fixing The Cowboys, we took a hard look at Jerry Jones and the Front Office, which is where most of what ails the Cowboys begins. But the coaches' room is not immune from blame.
There is still a need for work to be done on the coaching staff to right the ship and end the Cowboys' 27-year drought of championship game appearances.
With this post, we'll take a look at the coaching staff.
A NICE START
The Cowboys stole a little of my thunder already by sending Kellen Moore packing to the Chargers. Moore's offense retained far too much of Jason Garrett's influence.
His tendency to abandon the run often put the Cowboys' defense into bad situations.
If I could watch the game on TV at home and call the upcoming offensive play nine times out of 10, what do you think an experienced NFL defensive coordinator could do?
The questions now are, will Mike McCarthy taking over play calling make the Cowboys less predictable?
How much, if at all, will the offense change under new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer?
And can McCarthy and Schottenheimer find ways to better utilize the players than Moore did?
Perhaps more importantly, will they be able to make the in-game and halftime adjustments that Moore seemed incapable of during his tenure?
How these questions are answered will determine how far the Cowboys will go in 2023.
TIME TO WARM UP THE Coach's HOT SEAT
Yes, McCarthy is the first Cowboys coach to get the team into the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since Chan Gailey back in 1998-1999.
Bill Parcells was the head coach in 2006. But Wade Phillips was the head coach in 2007, the last time the team had made the playoffs in consecutive seasons prior to 2022-2023.
He's also 30-20 overall following consecutive 12-win seasons, something Dallas hadn't done since the 1994-1995 seasons. But he's 1-2 in the playoffs and hasn't even made it to the NFC Championship game.
Making the conference title game is the bare minimum for having a good year in these parts.
McCarthy needs to go into the 2023 season with his head coaching seat already on fire. He needs to understand that another exit in the wildcard or divisional round will be promptly followed by his exit from The Star.
Coach WAITING IN THE WINGS
The best offseason coaching move Dallas has made was retaining Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator for another year.
Not letting him go off to be head coach for another team may yet save the franchise.
Quinn has the defense in good order and only injuries — and a turnover-happy offense (looking right at you Dakota Prescott) — wore it down toward the end of the year.
If Team McCarthy/Schottenheimer can right the offense, Quinn's defense will be a force in 2023.
If the offense falters again, and McCarthy is fired, the Cowboys have their next head coach already in the building — Quinn.
Many point to the epic collapse by the Falcons with Quinn at the controls in Super Bowl LI. But that loss was on the Falcons' offense, which abandoned the run in the second half. The Falcons got pass-happy, as well as turnover-happy, and put the defense in bad situations.
Does this sound familiar to Cowboys fans by any chance?
If McCarthy fails in 2023, give Quinn command of the Cowboys in 2024. With his defense — along with a new, innovative offensive coordinator — the sky's the limit.
Give McCarthy one more year to get the Cowboys beyond the divisional round. If he can't, he's gone and Quinn takes over.
But no matter who the head coach is, he needs to return the team to the days of Jimmy Johnson's leadership.
Johnson's teams were disciplined because he held them accountable.
Aside from the Parcells years, that discipline and accountability has been non-existent ever since Johnson left. This is a primary reason why Dallas has only made the playoffs in 12 of the 27 seasons since winning Super Bowl XXX.
Nor have they made it past the divisional round since that year.
Fix that shortcoming in the coaching staff and it's a big step toward fixing the team. But fixing the players is an even bigger step and that comes next.
Speaking of next, we're on to look at the quarterback in the Fixing the Cowboys 2023 series.