The Dallas Cowboys and Mike McCarthy are among three NFL teams and head coaches to be hit with significant punishment for violating Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice rules, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday.
According to Schefter, the Cowboys and McCarthy were fined $100,000 and $50,000, respectively. The club must also forfeit one practice during the first week of the 2022 offseason.
The other guilty parties, the league determined, are the Jacksonville Jaguars ($200,000 fine) and HC Urban Meyer ($100,000), and the San Francisco 49ers ($100,000) and HC Kyle Shanahan ($50,000).
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Further Details Emerge
Although Cowboys officials have declined comment, the heavy-handed discipline stems from the club’s May 27 practice in which live-contact policies apparently were violated, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
“The intensity and tempo of the club’s interior line play and pass coverage during 11-on-11 drills were at a level where players were clearly engaged in physical contests,” the NFL said in a letter to the organization.
“The league further contends that ‘excessive contact between defensive backs and wide receivers’ as well as between offensive and defensive linemen ‘resulted in players being taken to the ground,” according to the letter.
“The letter reminds the Cowboys that when on-field physical contact between players escalates to an “impermissible level,” the head coach is obligated to intervene and stop the action. Coaches are also urged to remove “overly enthusiastic” players from the field for individual instruction. The OTA rules are part of the NFL Players Association agreement with the league.”
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Cowboys Fans Not ‘Very Confident’ in McCarthy
The above will do little to quell McCarthy’s already tenuous standing within the fan base. In a recent survey conducted by The Athletic’s Jon Machota, 36.4% of Cowboys fans define themselves as “somewhat confident” in McCarthy, because the team “can’t be any worse” than last season’s 6-10 outfit.
The majority (48.8%) comprises the “confident” category as these fans “expect the team to be much better in [McCarthy’s] second season.” However, over 10% of the 1,362 voters fall into the “not confident” category, believing Dallas needs to “start looking for their next head coach.”
“Only 58 of the 1,362 voters were ‘very confident’ that McCarthy will eventually get the Cowboys to the Super Bowl,” Machota wrote. “An underwhelming 6-10 finish in his first season obviously didn’t do much to boost confidence from the fan base. Maybe better overall team health and a different defensive coordinator will help get things back on track.”
Back in April, Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay gauged each NFL head coach’s job security heading into the 2021 season. A former Super Bowl winner, McCarthy’s seat was labeled as “hot” following a highly disappointing inaugural campaign in Dallas.
“McCarthy clearly deserves another chance, but he can’t afford to flounder out of the gate for an organization that expects nothing short of a Super Bowl run,” Kay wrote.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL