ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum believes that the way Mike McCarthy is coaching the Dallas Cowboys could be getting him into trouble.
Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys on the surface are certainly moving in the right direction as a head coach and a franchise. McCarthy got off to a rough start in Dallas, with the Cowboys going 6-10 in his first season in charge, although given various restrictions in the both the preseason and the regular season as a result of the pandemic, and losing quarterback Dak Prescott midway through, he can perhaps be forgiven for not hitting the ground running.
Things certainly got better for them in 2021, with things a lot closer to ‘normal’ than they would normally have been and with Prescott back under centre, the Cowboys were able to make a huge step forward, going 12-5 in the regular season, winning the NFC East and making the playoffs.
They lost at home to the San Francisco 49ers in a game that, whilst it was close, was poorly run by the Cowboys, as they not only had 14 penalties called against them, but also messed up having one last chance to tie the game and take it into overtime when they weren’t able to spike the ball properly before the game ended:
Not just a one-off
Penalties were a problem that followed the Cowboys around all year, as they amassed 141 total penalties during the regular and postseason, which equated to 1,192 penalty yards in total. When you average that out, it comes out to 7.8 penalties per game and 66.2 yards per game over their 18 games.
And when you consider that of the Cowboys’ five losses, three of them came by less than one score, and you get the sense that a better-disciplined side might have been able to turn those losses into wins, get a higher seed in the playoffs and maybe have a better end to the season.
That problem though appears to have carried over into this season, with the Cowboys racking up 17 penalties for 129 yards during their preseason loss to the Denver Broncos.
And it’s those problems that Mike Tannenbaum believes might force Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to get rid of McCarthy if he doesn’t buck his ideas up.
What’s he said?
Speaking on Get Up on ESPN, Tannenbaum claimed that McCarthy is effectively coaching himself out of a job if he can’t get the team to be more disciplined as the season goes on:
.@RealTannenbaum weighs in on the Cowboys' penalties in their preseason game 😳— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) August 16, 2022
"Right now, what coach McCarthy is simply doing is putting himself on the clock. … [The Cowboys are] not going to fire Mike McCarthy, he's going to fire himself!" pic.twitter.com/S4oV0WISbn
A sentiment that you can certainly understand, because if he can’t get the team under control when it matters most, then the chances of them being able to turn this season into a success is going to get smaller and smaller as the season goes on.
And if they take a step backwards this year, knowing how driven for success Jones is, you could understand why he might want to make a change and bring someone else in who can get them under control.