Mike McCarthy wasn’t hired to rack up 12-win seasons.
He was brought in as head coach to turn the Cowboys into a team that is, to borrow the phrase owner Jerry Jones used back in July, “viable in the playoffs.”
Now, with a second straight postseason berth, questions have once again surfaced about McCarthy’s future with the organization if the Cowboys don’t make- at the very least- a deep run through the NFC bracket.
Jones, though, isn’t ready to make Monday night’s wild-card showdown with Tampa Bay any sort of make-or-break moment for his third-year head coach.
“No. I don’t even want to- no. That’s it,” Jones told Shan & RJ on 105.3 The Fan during a Tuesday morning call-in when he was asked if McCarthy’s job could be at risk with a playoff loss to the 8-9 Buccaneers. “I don’t need to go into all the pluses or minuses, but I’ve got a lot more to evaluate Mike McCarthy on than this playoff game.”
Despite a 12-5 regular-season campaign, the confidence of Cowboys Nation has wavered in recent weeks. There was the blowout of a poor Indianapolis squad that actually wasn’t a blowout at all over the first three quarters. That was followed by a four-point squeaker over a one-win Houston crew. A mistake-filled overtime loss to Jacksonville. Two consecutive slugfest wins over teams starting backup quarterbacks. And, of course, the top-to-bottom terrible showing in Sunday’s finale against a depleted Washington roster that had zero left to play for.
Dallas’s recent body of work is concerning enough that the Cowboys opened as favorites by only three points to a sub-.500 team.
But Jones expressed belief that the team will rally around each other as well as their coaching staff.
“I have real confidence, all the confidence in the world in Mike and our offensive line coaches and our offensive personnel, our coordinator. I have all the faith in the world that we can make the kind of adjustments we need to make this week,” Jones explained. “I can see us playing better. Got to play better at Tampa, but I have a lot of confidence in our coaches to get that straightened out.”
The constant hot-seat whispers seem to always surround this team, even after an overall successful season. But until the Cowboys can get over this 27-year speed bump and finally make it back to the NFC title game, the questions will linger.
And despite this latest dismissal of the topic from Jerry Jones, nothing will definitively answer those questions- at least for another week- quite like actually being viable in the playoffs and notching a win in Tampa.