The Mike McCarthy Hire

I don’t hate it, I just don’t love it.

Jim Rome
January 07, 2020 - 10:09 am
Mike McCarthy

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I look forward to hearing how the Carolina Panthers search played out and how they got the guy who grew up in New York City and had been an assistant with the Giants to choose the Panthers over the New York Giants, and to do it as quickly as they did. 

Carolina got him to make a decision quickly, so quickly that it was reportedly before he was scheduled to meet with the Giants, so David Tepper must have been doing something serious. But even then, I bet it won’t be nearly as wild as how the Cowboys ended up with Mike McCarthy. 

Yesterday we learned about the sleepover they had on Saturday night. And it was just as bizarre as you’d expect. I’m not saying Jerry Jones can’t have house guests. And I doubt the two of them were napping on air mattresses in the living room, smashing pizza, and making crank phone calls. I’m sure Jerry has a guest wing at his house. Or a guest house at his house. Or a guest house with its own guest house.

But it’s still weird as hell that he was having a sleepover with a head coaching candidate while he still had a head coach. And then there’s this report from PFT. A source with knowledge of the dynamics between Jones and McCarthy said ““It was like love at first sight.” Love at first sight?  Between some old billionaire and some unemployed middle aged coach. What? Like, “ya had me at circumcised mosquita, Michael!

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the hell is going on here?! Grandpa is having sleepovers? And feel in love with the dude he slept over? At first sight. Man, that’s just weird. Even for Jerruh, it’s weird. Next level weird.  

And again, and I don’t mean any disrespect by this, but it’s Mike McCarthy. We’re talking about a guy with a really good record for most of his career, and he does have a Super Bowl ring, but as smart and sharp as he is, does anyone think he’s the smartest guy around? 

He’s a really good football mind, but never came across as Mr. Personality in Green Bay, but to hear the reports, Jerry was absolutely blown away by the guy. Absolutely infatuated Jerry didn’t just give McCarthy a rose, he gave him all the roses. 

Jerry loved that Saturday night sleepover so much that on Sunday he fired Jason Garrett. Jerry didn’t just like Mike, he fell and he fell hard.

And if I’m being honest, I don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the hiring of Mike McCarthy. He had success, he has a ring, he’s had way more success than the Cowboys have had, he’s won in Dallas, which apparently meant a lot to some people.

I don’t hate it, I just don’t love it. It’s kind of meh. It’s fine. I would expect that he’d be an upgrade over Jason Garrett, but does it really fix what ails the Cowboys? Does it make them Super Bowl contenders?

Sure, they’re probably the favorites in the NFC East next year, but they should’ve won the NFC East this year. That’s not a radical change. 

The bigger question is: are they beating teams like the 49ers and the Seahawks? And the really painful question: are they beating the Packers? Because it sure seems like the Packers got better when McCarthy left.

Now, I know a lot of that is about the change in approach to free agency and the fact that they brought in the Smiths and Adrian Amos, but it’s a rough look to hire a guy who got fired at 4-7-1 and the team went 13-3 the next year. If I’m a GM, I’m not sure I’m falling in love with that, but old man Jerruh did. 

And when you look at what the Cowboys problems were this season, does McCarthy fix them? The offense was pretty good and put up some crazy numbers. But the biggest issue was discipline and energy. And at the end of his time in Green Bay, one of the criticisms of McCarthy was a lack of discipline and a lack of energy. 

And then there’s that report from Tyler Dunne back in April about McCarthy getting massages in his office during the final prep meeting on Saturdays.

Does that feel like a guy who is going to address what ails the Cowboys? Maybe. Possibly. Hard to say. And really hard to get excited about it. Just like its kind of hard to get excited about his offense, because the biggest criticism of McCarthy was that his offense was stale. That it was bland, boring, and predictable. That in an era where guys like Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay were changing the game with their schemes, McCarthy’s hadn’t changed.

And it’s not like offense was the problem in Dallas in the first place. Again, he could make that offense better, but the fact that Jerry Jones, err, I mean, McCarthy wants Kellen Moore to stay tells you something about the offense. 

And when Carolina gets the cooler, buzzier, splashier hire than the Cowboys that tells you something too. And by the way, let’s not forget, when Carolina beats the Giants to their man that tells you a lot. 

Here’s what it really comes down to with the Cowboys. Mike McCarthy is a good coach. But from the sounds of it, Mike McCarthy wasn’t hired because he’s a Super Bowl coach. He was hired because Jerry likes him. And because he apparently likes Jerry. And because he isn’t going to fight Jerry and force Jerry to change.

Because despite what you might think when you look at the record, Jerry thinks this is all working. Who cares that they are barely over .500 in this century, Jerry Jones the CEO thinks Jerry Jones the GM is doing a hell of a job. And he doesn’t want to change that job. And from the sounds of it, Mike doesn’t want him to change it either. 

Mike McCarthy wasn’t hired because he’s going to fix the Cowboys, he was hired because he won’t fix the Cowboys problem. And that problem is Jerry Jones.