If Mike McCarthy can’t manage clock, what does he do for the Cowboys?

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NFL historians will know the name Jim Lee Howell. Howell was a relatively undistinguished head coach for the New York Giants from 1954 through 1960 who won an NFL championship in 1956, and lost another to the Baltimore Colts in the 1958 championship game — a game commonly known as the greatest ever played. Howell had a 53-27-4 regular-season record, and a 2-2 postseason mark, but you’ve never heard any Ring of Honor or Hall of Fame discussions around him.

Why? Because from 1954 through 1958, Howell had Vince Lombardi as his offensive coordinator, and and from 1954 through 1959, he had Tom Landry as his defensive coordinator. Lombardi left to coach the Packers in 1959, and Landry departed to coach the expansion Cowboys in 1960. 1960 was Howell’s final season as the Giants’ head coach — he finished 6-4-2 with Allie Sherman as his offensive coordinator and Harland Svare as his defensive coordinator, and that was that.

In the case of the Cowboys of today, there is head coach Mike McCarthy, who put up a 125-77-2 regular-season record with the Packers from 2006 through 2018, won a Super Bowl at the end of the 2010 season, and had a 10-8 postseason record, despite his predilection for both limiting Aaron Rodgers’ schematic opportunities, and benefiting from Rodgers’ improvisational genius.

In Dallas over the last two seasons, McCarthy has landed himself a bit of a Jim Lee Howell re-run. His offensive coordinator is Kellen Moore, who will be a head coach sooner than later, and is dialing up his offense as well as anybody in the league right now. New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is doing what he’s always done — running multiple fronts, letting his coverage guys play fast and furious, and making everything better.

In that situation, all McCarthy really has to do is take control of game management situations, and stay out of the way. It’s a serious “You had one job” thing, and as McCarthy showed in Dallas’ 41-21 win over the Eagles on Monday night, he’s not doing that one job well.

Peyton Manning, who knows a few things about situational football, was unimpressed on ESPN’s ManningCast.

This is the same Mike McCarthy who blamed the clock at SoFi Stadium for a game-management debacle that kicker Greg Zuerlein bailed him out of with a game-winning 56-yard field goal against the Chargers in Week 2.

Would that this were a new issue for McCarthy, we might be able to let it go. But it isn’t.

During a Tuesday morning appearance on Dallas’ 103.5 The Fan, owner Jerry Jones tried to set the issue aside.

“Other teams have issues with clock management. That’s part of the game. And, so, let’s cut them some slack and realize that if you do enough plays — we were critical of [former Cowboys head coach and current Giants offensive coordinator Jason] Garrett when he was here. Don’t you think that goes with the territory?”

Not if it’s not a repetitive issue, no.

“I know firsthand Mike’s capabilities and have known how he approaches it, the logic that he uses, and I’m not a bit concerned about his ability to manage a tight situation,” Jones continued. “Is he going to have some things that he can second-guess? You bet they are. They wouldn’t have a decision-making time.”

It’s Jones’ team, and if he wants his head coach to go light on the responsibilities and bungle those up from time to time, that’s his prerogative.

But it does beg the question for McCarthy: What would you say, you do here?