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Is Mike McCarthy a Good Fit for the Dallas Cowboys?

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The Dallas Cowboys took their time in moving on from Jason Garrett but hired quickly after the break up was official. Jerry Jones is now bringing in former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy to lead his team.

Mike McCarthy’s success as the Packers head coach cannot be denied as he not only led the team to the playoffs in nine of his 13 years there, but he also brought a Super Bowl win to the organization. With a record of 125-77-2, McCarthy is no stranger to winning. But, will his culture that was created in Green Bay translate to Dallas? With many other coaching options available, is it possible that Jerry jumped the gun on this safe hire?

Will McCarthy and the Cowboys work?

In 2018, McCarthy was rushed out of the Packers organization after week 13. Since then, he has stayed away from coaching and took 2019 off. In his time away from football, McCarthy explained in an interview with NBC’s Peter King that he was taking an analytic approach to preparing for an NFL comeback. If this is the case, then there is a good chance that the Jerry made the right hire. But, if McCarthy cannot adjust to what the Cowboys’ roster is built for, then this may be the beginning to a Jason Garrett 2.0.

Pass Over Run? Adaptation is Needed.

Over the past few years, it has become evident that the Cowboys have focused on building a run first offensive scheme. Three of Dallas’ starting offensive linemen were taken in the first round of their respective draft classes. Not to mention, All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was also taken in the first round of his draft class. In fact, since drafted Elliott, the Cowboys have ranked in the top ten in rushing each season.

Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliott. (Photo Credit: CBS Sports)

This scheme may not be the best fit for McCarthy. With future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers under center, it was obvious that McCarthy produced a pass first offense during his head coaching days. According to Pro Football Reference, McCarthy’s offense placed in the top ten in passing yards 11 times in his 13 seasons with the Packers. In rushing yards on the other hand, McCarthy has placed in the top ten only once and never placed top ten in rushing attempts.

With the Cowboys roster built to feed their All-Pro running back, McCarthy will have to adapt to a new offense. If the head coach can find a way to creatively run the football while continuing Dak Prescott’s development, then the Cowboys can be real contenders for next year’s Super Bowl. But, if McCarthy plans to put the offense’s weight solely on the shoulder’s of Prescott (as he did with Aaron Rodgers), then the Cowboys offense will simply not be enough to win games.

Culture Change?

In the Jason Garrett Era, the Cowboys finished with a record of 85-67 over the course of ten years. In that decade, Dallas finished 8-8 four times, three of which were in consecutive seasons and once was most recently the 2019 season. The team has not appeared in an NFC Championship game, let alone a Super Bowl, since 1996. With that being said, the team’s culture has not be focused on winning championships, rather doing their best to survive their division.

Mike McCarthy has what it takes to turn the team’s mindset around. With a great amount of playoff experience and a Super Bowl victory, McCarthy knows what it takes to build a winning culture. Having only three losing seasons in his career, the newly hired head coach has the opportunity to transform a mediocre culture into a Super Bowl contender.

Although the head coaching search seemed rushed, Jerry Jones believes he has made the right move. Bringing in a Super Bowl winning coach is a safe hire, but will it take the Cowboys to the next level? Only time will tell.

 

Featured Image Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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