Mike McCarthy picked Dallas, but are the Cowboys the right job for him?

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys have found a new head coach. But did new sideline leader Mike McCarthy find the team that best suits what he does best?

It’s been an offseason of fewer than usual head coaching vacancies. Before the season was over, the Washington Redskins and later the Carolina Panthers would dismiss Jay Gruden and Ron Rivera, respectively. Ironic enough that last week, the latter was Dan Snyder’s choice to put the fight back in old D.C.

Mike McCarthy knows a little something about not getting through an entire NFL season. After 12 games in 2018, he was let go by the Green Bay Packers. His resume in “Titletown” was impressive and the high point came in 2010 when the wild card Pack went onto win Super Bowl XLV. That was in the midst of a run that saw the team reach the postseason eight consecutive years from 2009-16.

But that streak came to an end in ‘17 when Aaron Rodgers missed a big chunk of the season with a broken collarbone. The quarterback was hobbled a year ago with a knee injury and owned a 4-7-1 record when McCarthy got the hook. He took this past season off and with openings entering the weekend in Carolina, Cleveland and Dallas and with the New York Giants, he was certainly on those team’s radars.

And then came today’s report:

So Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have apparently made their choice. But is this the right fit for what Mike McCarthy does best? This is obviously a team that has a lot of offensive weapons and the former Packers’ sideline leader has proven he knows what to do with a quarterback. Of course, he had one Hall of Famer in Brett Favre and another amazing talent in Rodgers just in his days as an NFL head coach. And in four seasons with the Cowboys, Dak Prescott has proven to be reliable and also a performer who continues to improve his game.

What’s really going to be interesting to watch is can the Cowboys become a balanced offense once again? Dallas gained the most yards in the league this past season, finished fifth in rushing and second in passing. The team scored 434 points and totaled 48 offensive touchdowns. But running back Ezekiel Elliott, who finished fourth in the NFL in rushing yards, became an afterthought too many times this past season with coordinator Kellen Moore calling the shots.

At the moment, it’s hard to tell what the team’s coaching staff will look like? Will Moore return and in the same role. Will he or McCarthy be calling the plays? As time wore on the last few seasons in Green Bay, the emphasis on the ground game seemed to diminish. In terms of total running plays, the Packers were dead last in the NFL in 2019. It may be one of the reason things fell apart for he and the club the last few years?

It’s interesting to note that the other three current openings in the league – the Panthers (Christian McCaffrey), Browns (Nick Chubb) and Giants (Saquon Barkley) – all have exceptional running backs. And so do the Cowboys in Elliott. And these Cowboys, who disappointed on defense in 2019, may want to get back to the formula that proved to work in 2014, ’16 and ’18. So is McCarthy willing to bend a bit and not put most of it on the quarterback? Off a big year from Prescott, the temptation could be great. But will that add up to success for a man getting a second chance as an NFL head coach?

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