Jerry Jones chose not to publicly challenge Mike McCarthy’s questionable coaching decisions in Thursday’s blowout loss to Washington.
Jones spoke openly about McCarthy’s now-fateful calls — namely his fourth-down and fake-punt choices — during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan, seemingly sticking by the embattled Dallas Cowboys head man.
“Whether you agree with it or not, there was some serious reasoning behind those calls … Our coaches thought we were teetering and having real limitations in certain areas and needed the ol’ proverbial pull one out,” Jones said Friday, via ESPN.
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The 41-16 loss to the Football Team dropped the Cowboys to 3-8, effectively killing whatever was left of their playoff hopes. Worse, this marks the first time since 2012 that Washington scored a season sweep. It was arguably McCarthy’s worst game in Dallas (and that’s saying something), a performance rife with apparent ineptitude.
But you wouldn’t know it by asking him. Take, for example, his second-quarter gamble in which he green-lit an unsuccessful 4th-and-short pass on Dallas’ own 34-yard line. The turnover on downs led to a Washington touchdown on the ensuing series.
“You won’t get anywhere if you’re thinking about negatives all the time,” McCarthy said after the game, per the team’s official website.
“There’s obviously film study that goes into the call and when to call it. But when you call it, you’re obviously looking to convert it. You obviously understand on fourth-down calls what your options are. You either convert it or you don’t convert it. The flow of the game, all those things are factored into that decision. I’m very confident in our players and put them into position to make plays.”
Most egregious was Dallas’ fake-punt attempt in the fourth quarter from their own 24-yard line, trailing 20-16. The trickery — one of the worst fakes you’ll ever see, presumably a joint venture between McCarthy and special teams coordinator John Fassel — severely backfired and Washington tacked on another TD to drive home the embarrassment.
“It was a solid play call. It’s a good play design,” McCarthy insisted, via the team’s official website. “Their gunner made a good play, came off of it, he put us in a high-low read for Cedrick. That’s the nature of those plays. You can never convert them obviously if you don’t call them, if you don’t believe in them. I clearly understood the situation when it was called.”
The Cowboys’ Week 11 upset of Minnesota breathed new life in what’s been a cursed 2020 campaign. However, Jones’ squad reverted back to their hapless ways for all the world to witness on Thanksgiving.
Which, after injuries to starting tackles Zack Martin and Cam Erving, resurfaces the question: Time to turn the page to 2021?
Perhaps. But not intentionally — no Tanking for Trevor or Failing for Fields.
“There’s really not a decision here on our team with tanking,” Jones said Friday, via ESPN. “Let me be real clear here, and I’m not offended by the conversation at all, and I understand what you’re talking about. That’s just not going to be the case.”
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Jones Confirms Injury News
Martin and Erving were lost for the game on Dallas’ opening possession against Washington; the former suffered a calf strain while the latter sustained a right knee sprain. Both are potentially severe ailments, according to Jones.
“No, I don’t know how serious they are, but I do know that they got the potential to be with us — the potential to impact us the rest of the season,” he said Friday on 105.3 The Fan, via beat reporter Brianna Dix.
Holding a Friday news conference, McCarthy revealed that Martin and Erving are “going to be out multiple weeks.” Meaning the Cowboys will roll with Brandon Knight at left tackle and Terence Steele at right tackle for the foreseeable future.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL