Cowboys organization deserves credit, Mike McCarthy should get his share
The Dallas Cowboys are 3-1. It remains impossible to believe. Of course, we can partly attribute that three-game winning streak to the quality of Dallas’ opponents lately. The Cincinnati Bengals ranks 16th overall team DVOA while the New York Giants are 23rd (Washington Commanders are bottom near bottom at 30th). But the games don’t just win themselves.
Very often things in sports are watered down to be one or the other. Either the Cowboys are a terrible team that takes advantage of more terrible teams, or they are an elite group destined to repeat as division champions and challenge their first NFC Championship Appearance of the game in more than 30 years.
While we don’t know what the future holds for this group in terms of the quality of who they are, the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle, but not necessarily halfway.
There’s more than enough credit going around the Cowboys right now to give Mike McCarthy his part
Mike McCarthy was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for 37 games.
Tyron Smith has played in 13 of those games. Dak Prescott starred in 22 of them. Tyron Smith and Dak Prescott are pretty important to the Dallas Cowboys, right?
Do not mistake yourself. The Cowboys are successful right now thanks to a lot of people. Micah Parsons might be the NFL’s best defensive player and Trevon Diggs isn’t far behind him (neither is DeMarcus Lawrence these days). Dan Quinn does a masterful job of using all the queens on this board as if he were playing bughouse (true chess fans will know what bughouse is).
McCarthy has made his way into the NFL on the offensive side of the ball and we’ve seen that slowly come to life for the Cowboys. Cooper Rush has limits but Dallas skirts them. When it comes to the third phase of the game, the Cowboys have one of the most reliable kickers in the league right now in Brett Maher (he remains amazing) and outside of a hock, Bryan Anger also takes care of his punting duties with his usual excellence.
Why then are so many Cowboys fans throwing flowers in every direction except at McCarthy’s? It’s something that Kay Adams and I discussed on her show. Up & Adams Wednesday and she agrees it’s time to give Mike his props.
Going back to the idea that one thing or another is true, this conversation often turns to extremes as if it were a statement that McCarthy is one of the best coaches in the NFL. But if another NFL coach made lemonade like McCarthy, he would receive praise left and right.
Another common clapback to credit McCarthy is that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is the real culprit behind any success. We’re all huge Quinn fans, and he fully deserves all the adoration he gets, but the Cowboys defense couldn’t stop the run last week against Washington for most of the game. Isn’t that something that shows he’s not infallible?
It is possible to hire Mike McCarthy, Dan Quinn, Micah Parsons, Cooper Rush, CeeDee Lamb, DeMarcus Lawrence and/or anyone else you would like. We don’t have to exclude a person, a player or a coach because of preconceived ideas. This group of Cowboys is doing an amazing job of staying together right now, and as the figurehead of it all, McCarthy gets his fair share of credit.
Jason Garrett was hailed for the work he did with Dak Prescott in 2016 after Tony Romo suffered an injury, so much so that he ended up winning Coach of the Year honors at the end of the season. At the risk of now equating 2016 with the constant arguments over Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush, if we were then making massive arguments (and rightly so) for Garrett to receive his flowers, then we should operate much the same way with McCarthy now.
It’s okay to take your hat off to Mike McCarthy. At least he deserves it with what he does. Over the course of two years and changes, he won more games than he lost without Dak Prescott under center. It was a type of challenge that its predecessor did not handle well at all.
Maybe a victory on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams and Sean McVay will change your mind. It’s ultimately unlikely. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Mike McCarthy is that he continues to thrive with or without the credit.