Former NFL GM Trashes ‘Excuse-Maker’ Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy

Getty Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy

Ex-New York Jets general manager and Miami Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum ripped Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy for uttering “really disappointing” remarks during last week’s press conference at The Star.

“I think his comments fell short. Jerry Jones hired a battlefield commander, not an excuse-maker,” Tannenbaum, now an NFL analyst, said in response on ESPN’s Get Up. “Why don’t we compare what happened in Washington? With everything going on with COVID, [head coach] Ron Rivera was a cancer survivor, they had four different quarterbacks start for them — and they won the NFC East. Ron Rivera, if he had opted out, nobody would’ve said anything. But he persevered and led his team to the playoffs.

“I was disappointed by those comments. Obviously, they want to have a full offseason, have the quarterback at full health. They’re getting back a lot of players. I understand that. But you’re the head coach, and you want to lead without excuses. We’re in a performance business.”

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McCarthy’s Comments

It’s unclear from the video clip what exactly Tannenbaum is referencing. Assumingly, he’s drilling down on McCarthy’s blame-taking aversion for the Cowboys’ bitterly disappointing 2020 campaign, his first in silver and blue.

In discussing the biggest issue that plagued last season’s 6-10 outfit — its defense — McCarthy delivered uninspiring cliches and platitudes regarding the failure of since-fired coordinator Mike Nolan. They ranged from “we tried to change too much” to “we just didn’t get it done” to “it’s not just one guy,” an apparent defense of Nolan.

At no time did he foist the responsibility on his own shoulders. Instead, McCarthy wondered aloud, “What the hell did I come back to?” following his 2018 divorce from the Green Bay Packers and a year away from football in 2019. Then, more coachspeak.

“The pressure of adversity I have today is truly a privilege. Truly a privilege to be back in the NFL,” he told reporters.

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Job Security Intact?

Tannebaum’s colleague, ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano, wasn’t as willing to bury McCarthy in the wake of his first news conference of the offseason — pre-draft, post-Dak Prescott megadeal.

Although the prevailing notion is that the Super Bowl-winning head man could be coaching for his job in 2021, Graziano feels Dallas’ ever-patient brain trust has exonerated McCarthy for last year’s issues, some of which were out of his control, and as such will extend a longer leash than many anticipate.

“Probably not as much [pressure on McCarthy to win] as there should be,” Graziano said. “If you look at Jerry Jones’ history as the owner of the Cowboys, every coach except for one, Chan Gailey, has gotten more than two years. … I don’t think Mike McCarthy, barring some kind of complete disaster, will be facing any significant job pressure at the end of this year. You hear him talking about last year and how it was kind of a lost year, and I think a lot of people feel that way.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL