It's become a really popular idea to throw Dallas Cowboys coaches on the hot seat early and often. It seems like former Head Coach Jason Garrett was on the hot seat for each of the last six seasons of his tenure with the Cowboys. And now, just one year into his run with the team, Mike McCarthy finds himself on hot seat lists and leading the way as the betting favorite to be the first coach fired in 2021.
Per BetOnline.ag, Mike McCarthy comes in with the highest odds to be the first head coach fired for 2021 at +750.
“Why don't you explain it to me like I'm five?”
– Michael Scott
– John Williams
I understand some of the criticism of McCarthy. And at the same time, I don't get why people are ready to throw him off the cliff after just one season.
Mike McCarthy's tenure in Green Bay ended with him as the punching bag for the team's failures his final few seasons, but this is still a head coach that has won a Super Bowl and he's just one year into his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys.
As we're seeing play out in Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers, it appears that McCarthy wasn't the only problem that the Packers had to deal with. If there were ever a quarterback that you could classify as a diva, Aaron Rodgers just might be that. Fantastic player, one of the best to ever play the position, but man does he stir up drama.
The 2020 season didn't go according to plan for anyone within the Cowboys organization. Injuries to Dak Prescott and starting offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La'el Collins had a huge impact on the production and performance of the offense. That in turn, had a huge impact on the overall success of the team. Most notably, the defense struggled at an all-time level in 2020 and perhaps you could throw that at McCarthy's feet for bringing in his old buddy Mike Nolan to run the defense.
At the same time, about midseason, the Cowboys made adjustments to the defense that allowed for a bit of improvement over the second half of the season. Still, the Cowboys and McCarthy realized that Nolan was a mistake and didn't give him another chance to see if he could improve the defense in 2021.
But it's also important to note that the scheme wasn't the only issue in 2020 on defense. The players underwhelmed as well. Whether it was the inconsistency of the interior defensive line, which didn't help the linebacker play that had already been struggling, or the injuries at cornerback, the defense had a lot of issues in 2020 that go beyond just one coaching hire. That was part of it, but certainly not the whole of it.
Then there's the Kellen Moore angle.
There's a thought out there that the Dallas Cowboys could lose Kellen Moore in the 2022 offseason if things go as well as we think they will for the Cowboys in 2021. Moore was a hot name the past two offseasons, turning down an offensive coordinator job at Oregon and the head coaching job at Boise State to continue as the play-caller for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' offense.
Kellen Moore had an opportunity to jump at a head coaching job but chose to stay with the Cowboys. He's long been earmarked for success and his decision to stay with the Cowboys shows patience that could pay off huge down the road. He's not necessarily the head coach in waiting, but if things continue to go well for the team and it's certainly possible that an NFL team woos him away at some point, but I don't think that's happening next offseason.
Of course, there is pressure to win, but there's pressure to win for everyone in the organization. It doesn't seem likely that the Cowboys will have the same injury bad luck that they had in 2020 at some of the most important positions on the field. The Cowboys would have to have everyone healthy and miss the playoffs for McCarthy to see his reign as the Cowboys' head coach come to an end. And if everyone's healthy, I have a hard time believing they miss the playoffs. The offense is going to be too good and the defense will be better.
Mike McCarthy may be feeling some pressure as he enters his second season as the head coach with the Dallas Cowboys, but I wouldn't bet on him being the first coach fired between now and next offseason.