Mike McCarthy is on the hot seat to start 2022 after a disappointing first-round exit. The San Francisco 49ers sent the Dallas Cowboys home early 23-17 behind an impressive defensive performance. The 49ers sacked Dak Prescott five times, adding three more tackles for loss, and an interception. The Cowboys did not help themselves by committing 14 penalties, dampening any gained momentum over the four quarters. With this poor post-season performance piggybacking on an at-times sloppy season, McCarthy finds himself on the hot seat.
Mike McCarthy’s Seat is Heating Up
The Cowboys finished as a dark horse Super Bowl favorite after finishing 12-5 during the season. Prescott opened the season as an MVP candidate and a Comeback Player of the Year shoo-in. After some sloppy play and tough losses, Prescott finished with zero season awards. Despite Prescott’s ups and downs, the Cowboys still won the NFC East and commanded the top offense in the NFL.
DREW on DAK#Cowboys QB Dak Prescott 'A $40 Million Disappointment’https://t.co/KzISgnHzdl pic.twitter.com/NnRvLeGSOZ
— fishsports (@fishsports) February 20, 2022
The Cowboys sloppy season started opening night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tom Brady and the Bucs defeated Dallas on opening night with a walk-off field goal from Ryan Succop. This game-winning drive came after Greg Zuerlein missed two field goals and an extra point. Special teams miscues cost McCarthy and the Cowboys a victory against the defending Superbowl champions on opening night.
Ups and Downs
Dallas was great during the early to the middle portion of the season. The Cowboys won six games in a row before a bad loss to the Denver Broncos. The Broncos loss was the first of several bad losses. Dallas seemed to play up or down to the competition dropping games to the Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, and Arizona Cardinals.
Dallas was outplayed by the Broncos, held scoreless until the fourth quarter. Prescott and the offense were unable to move the ball against the last-place AFC West Broncos. Dallas picked up negative momentum with this loss dropping two out of the next three against the Chiefs and Raiders. Dallas went to Arrowhead Stadium and was held out of the endzone against the leaky Kansas City defense. Following their poor offensive showing the Cowboys were heavily penalized in the secondary in a loss to the Raiders.
Dallas quickly got back on track running the NFC East down the stretch. McCarthy made another crucial coach error using all available time-outs. With all his time-outs gone, McCarthy was unable to challenge what would have been a fumble to give Dallas the ball back late against the Cardinals. The Cowboys could have picked up a tough win over Arizona, but inconsistent play and more coaching mishaps lead to yet another tough loss to a quality team.
Dan Quinn Could Take Over
Dan Quinn has completely turned around what was one of the worst defenses in the NFL over the past several seasons. Quinn took some time away from football after being fired from the Atlanta Falcons. The Cowboys defensive coordinator used his time away from football preparing for his new role in Dallas. His successes were recognized as Quinn interviewed several times for another head coach position.
Today, Mike McCarthy was asked by @richeisen about the speculation that Dan Quinn could one day have his job. This quote is one of the more transparent things I’ve heard him say.
It’s also one of the most “only the Cowboys” quotes I’ve heard in a long time. pic.twitter.com/90Su4rv0Bs
— David Helman (@HelmanDC) February 16, 2022
If the Cowboys struggle in the early season Jerry Jones could move on from McCarthy. With Quinn’s prior experience as a head coach, he could replace McCarthy as the interim or permanent head coach. Kellen Moore is another coordinator that took several head coach interviews without a job offer. If the Cowboys move on from McCarthy, they will have good interim or permanent options.
McCarthy Needs to Change the Culture
Mike McCarthy is on the hot seat to start 2022. The Cowboys Head Coach and Prescott need to take leadership and change the culture in Dallas. The Cowboys played very sloppy and were inconsistent at various points during the season. Prescott struggled mightily at times during 2021 while playing like the MVP at other times. McCarthy time and time again made poor coaching decisions with timeouts and offensive schemes. McCarthy’s sloppy coaching spread to his players leading to countless special teams, offensive, and defensive miscues. This lack of focus manifested in the playoffs with 14 penalties against the 49ers. If McCarthy wants to keep his job he and Prescott will need to demand more focus and consistent play on offense, defense, and with special teams.
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