Does McCarthy deserve to be on hot seat in 2023?

Mike Florio and Chris Simms examine Mike McCarthy’s shortcomings in recent seasons to assess how much of it ultimately falls on him versus circumstances that were out of his control.

Video Transcript

JERRY JONES: Drafting's not our problem, coaching is.


- He's got to get everybody. [LAUGHING]

MIKE FLORIO: Oh, and it's the walk-off for Jerry-- 'that's it. That's it for me.' Beep. And look, we know that every joke has a little kernel of truth in it. That's what makes it funny. "Drafting's not our problem, coaching is," slap him on the arm, get up, and leave. That's a message. Oh, that's a message to Mike McCarthy.

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And look, if we're going to map out the guys on the hot seat this year, of course he's at the top. He's responsible for the offense. Now Kellen Moore is out, he's in. It's kind of like-- it's kind of like he's been agitating for the past couple of years. 'Well, if I was just in charge of this, it would be different. If I could do this, it would be different.' And I think the Joneses said fine, go ahead. It's all you. And if it doesn't work, it's all you.

CHRIS SIMMS: Is it, like-- is it fair that he's on the hot seat? I'm just posing the question here just for you and I, two guys that are big sports fans that watch football. It is a weird one. I know it's not perfect, but I'm like, damn, they did go 12 and 5 the last two years, didn't they? Right?

I mean, they are one of the teams we talk about as being one of the better teams in the NFC. That's where I guess I'm a little bit torn with that conversation to a degree. I don't know, Mike. What do you think?

MIKE FLORIO: Well, I think the problem is when you have an owner who believes the team is better than where you've taken it and when you've lost to the same team in the postseason each of the last two years with-- with-- a final play both years, one-- one-- horribly executed; good idea, horribly executed, not planned, not coached, with no recognition given to the fact that the man who has to place the ball and touch it can't teleport through your quarterback and your center, and the clock is ticking.


Those are things that a detail-oriented coach would have thought about and would have incorporated into the planning for the use of that play. That quarterback draw from Dak Prescott aimed at giving the Cowboys a shot at the end zone and the victory over the 49ers in the wild card round last year.

This year, they have a chance for a Hail Mary. They try this Stanford Band play, where, for Ezekiel Elliott's final play ever with the Cowboys, he gets blown up, sir, playing backup center. The play went nowhere. KaVontae Turpin gets the quick pass and is flattened immediately. I don't know what the hell that was going to be. Although CeeDee Lamb did have some fun with this at the Super Bowl.

CHRIS SIMMS: He is great.

MIKE FLORIO: I said, what were you guys trying to do? He said, what did you want? I said, a touchdown. 'Well, that's what we were trying to do.' Yeah, fine. But you could have fooled me. That's what I should have said, you could have fooled me that you were trying to score a touchdown.


So that's on McCarthy-- both exits, one play, not that it was a high probability it was going to work. But it just kind of makes you wonder, what deeper flaws do we have here? If this is what we trot out with our season on the line, what else is kind of going wrong that maybe we should take a look at?

So I think it is fair. These are the Cowboys. And we know-- you take that job, you know you're operating in a high-profile setting. And there's limited margin for error. And if it goes wrong, it's not going to be the GM's fault, because the GM is the owner of the team.

CHRIS SIMMS: No, I know. But that's why I just don't-- I don't know if that screams fair to me, right? Even the things you said.

MIKE FLORIO: Then don't take that job.



MIKE FLORIO: Then don't take that job.

CHRIS SIMMS: I get it. Well, it's hard. There's only a few out there, right? It's hard. This is the things where I go, between what you said-- again, I'm not sure if it's fair. Was he forced with Kellen Moore as his offensive coordinator, right?

There are some things there, too, because of that and the ownership and the situation you're talking about where I go, I think head coaches can be handcuffed a little bit there, too, to where, yeah, the owner just sits back and lets everybody crap on the coach. And it's like no, some of that crap should be on you. You're the reason. It's not the coach.


So yes, there are some issues with Mike McCarthy. It's not perfect. I just-- I don't know, in my heart of hearts, yeah, I questioned whether he should be on the hot seat there. There's still a lot to respect in what they're doing.

And to that point, none of us thought they were going to beat the 49ers. I didn't think they were going to go into San Francisco and win that game, right? And yeah, that play two years ago against the 49ers, that wasn't good. You're right. But damn, also, they had to throw a touchdown pass the next play, too.

People, sometimes we forget-- we think they were just going to automatically score. So that's where I defend him. I know the things you said are real. And I'm with you. I'm just talking here as a sports fan and a guy that follows the sport. And I do get sick of the piling on of McCarthy at times by everybody.

MIKE FLORIO: The Kellen Moore angle is fascinating because I feel like Jerry Jones has been trying to find another Tom Landry. You know, Jason Garrett was going to be the next Tom Landry. He was patient. And he went through some years that were not as good as the Cowboys would have wanted, thinking that he's going to unlock a guy who becomes one of the best coaches in football.


Then you've got Kellen Moore, I think a guy that they're trying to develop-- they were trying to develop same way. Get him young. Have him there 30 years. Part of Jerry Jones' legacy-- 'I hired the coach who was here for three decades or longer.' And now they've given up on that.

But I think that if McCarthy made that case and won that argument, that it's time to move on from Kellen Moore and here's why, here's why, here's why, OK, fine, Mike. You're in charge now. And everything that goes along with it, you're in charge. If it goes well, bravo. If it doesn't, see you later.

So I think part of it is you recognize it. You kind of force it to a conclusion. It's either going to go great, or it's not. And if it doesn't, then that's when the hot seat becomes an exit for Mike McCarthy. Let's take a break.

CHRIS SIMMS: Well, I just want me to say one more thing--


MIKE FLORIO: I'll give you something else.

CHRIS SIMMS: --one more thing just because I just want to go, yeah, I mean, you said all the right things there. And you're right, I mean, you are. But what I would say to the Jones family or anybody, just be careful there. I mean, you do have one of the three best teams in the NFC. There's no doubt about that.

And some of the things I look at with those team, I go, well, wait. The team and the things that we question, right, are more on the Joneses. The Dallas Cowboys are not as good as the Eagles on paper. Their roster is not there. It's not the same. Their roster is not as good as the 49ers. They're close, but they're not as good, right?

So that to me, I'm going to go, no, that's a Jones problem. That ain't a Mike McCarthy problem there, too. And that's where I go, I don't know what we expect. I mean, none of us thought they could beat the Eagles or the 49ers down the stretch last year. We knew they were in the class with them, but not beat them. And that's where I just say, be careful what you wish for a little bit.


MIKE FLORIO: Well, that's right. Who are you going to replace him with?

CHRIS SIMMS: Exactly, right.

MIKE FLORIO: Sean Payton's in Denver now. That was the guy that we thought for years Jerry Jones was eventually going to get. This was his chance, and he didn't do it. Let's take a break. A little "What's More Likely" to be played when this Monday edition of "PFT Live" continues right after this.