Xavier McKinney has an ax to grind with the Dallas Cowboys. And he’s grinding it.
“For me, I take it personal every time I play the Cowboys for the rest of my career,” McKinney recently said, via CowboysSI.com. “That’s just how I feel about that situation.”
The New York Giants defensive back was selected 36th overall in the 2020 NFL draft, 19 spots after Dallas took wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. McKinney strongly believes it should have been his name on the first-round card, a star on his helmet — the genesis of bitterly sour grapes.
“I think everything came full circle for me,” he said. “That was the team that was supposed to come get me. The team talked to me a lot, and they liked me when I was interviewing and all that stuff. …”
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McKinney appeared in six games as a rookie for the Giants, making four starts. He finished with 25 tackles, one interception, and one pass deflection across 210 defensive snaps.
That interception, however, occurred in the season finale against — you guessed it! — the Cowboys. The former Alabama standout picked off Andy Dalton in the end zone, with seconds remaining, to cement a 23-19 win over his fiercest NFC East foe.
“Having that pick against the Cowboys was great because going into that game, I knew what we needed to do to have a chance to even make the playoffs,” McKinney said.
New York did not clinch a postseason berth as its victory helped Washington secure the division crown. But McKinney feels the best is yet to come for Big Blue.
“Ultimately, didn’t get to where we wanted to be,” McKinney said. “We’ll get there next year.”
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Cowboys Fans Send Message on Replacing McCarthy
In a new survey conducted by The Athletic’s Jon Machota, 36.4% of Cowboys fans define themselves as “somewhat confident” in head coach Mike McCarthy, because the team “can’t be any worse” than last season’s 6-10 outfit.
Over 10% of the 1,362 voters fall into the “not confident” category, believing Dallas needs to “start looking for their next head coach.” The majority (48.8%) comprises the “confident” category as these fans “expect the team to be much better in [McCarthy’s] second season.”
“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.”
On the plus side, Cowboys Nation appears wholly confident in new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Out of 1,356 responders, 41.4% said they “love it [and] there wasn’t a better candidate” to replace Mike Nolan, while 45.7% said “there are others I wanted, but I think he’ll do a good job.” Only 12.5% of fans are “not impressed” with the hire.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL