The odds are out, and Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is one of the favorites to win Coach of the Year. The first-year coach is inheriting a talented roster that should exceed their win total from one season ago and make a serious push for the Super Bowl.
Coach of the Year: Why Mike McCarthy is the Man to Beat
The Coach of the Year award is mostly a narrative-driven prize given to whichever coach overachieves in a given season. Bill Belichick is widely considered the best coach of the decade, yet he hasn’t won the honor since 2010. With that in mind, it’s easy to see the Cowboys making drastic leaps in the upcoming season.
For one, the 2019 Cowboys were a lot better than their 8-8 record would indicate. Based on their offensive and defensive efficiency, most analytical models projected the Cowboys to be an 11-5 team. Even if the Cowboys don’t improve in any measurable way in 2020, they should have a better record just due to more breaks going their way. This alone will boost McCarthy’s win total, thus helping make his case for Coach of the Year.
From a narrative perspective, voters are going to love Mike McCarthy succeeding without Aaron Rodgers. McCarthy and Rodgers, of course, were joined at the hip during their tenure in Green Bay. The duo won a Super Bowl together but ultimately underachieved relative to expectation. Some view McCarthy solely as a product of Rodgers, and changing that narrative will go a long way in winning Coach of the Year honors.
McCarthy is Better Than Jason Garrett
As previously established, the 2020 Cowboys should have a better record than their 2019 counterparts by default. However, one could easily expect even more success, since Mike McCarthy is a considerably better coach than Jason Garrett.
Ever since taking over as head coach, Jason Garrett has been the definition of mediocrity. The former backup quarterback clings to an old, outdated offensive philosophy and never adjusted his coaching style to the modern game.
Despite having two good/great quarterbacks in Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, Garrett always tried to win with a run-first mindset that typically put the team in unfavorable situations. He was one of the least-aggressive playcallers in the league, and his entire offensive philosophy relied on his quarterback bailing out the offense on third down.
This isn’t going to happen with McCarthy. The coach was one of the most aggressive in the league during his time with the Packers, and appears to have embraced the analytical side of the game. Dallas is going to throw early and often, and the Cowboys have the weaponry to execute his offensive vision. It’s hard to think of a better receiving trio than Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb, and guys like Blake Jarwin and Ezekiel Elliott can also contribute in the passing game.
Additionally, the team brought back Kellen Moore to serve as offensive coordinator. Moore showed plenty of promise during his first season and should only improve heading into 2020. More creative schemes combined with this pass-happy philosophy should only improve the offensive firepower of this roster. Don’t be surprised if the Cowboys pull off a 12-4 season, with Mike McCarthy earning Coach of the Year honors for his great work
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