Jerry Jones Slams ‘Ridiculous’ Rumor Concerning Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy

Cowboys Rumors

Getty Mike McCarthy may be on the hot seat for the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones emphatically shut down speculation that head coach Mike McCarthy is — nor ever was — on the hot seat.

“Not one time have I been in any discussion, had any dream, or given a thought to anything but Mike McCarthy being our head coach next year, and being our coach of the future,” Jones said Tuesday on Shan and RJ on 105.3 The Fan. “How in the hell something like that could get going in a conversation with Stephen (Jones) or anybody else about whether McCarthy is going to be the coach or not is ridiculous.”

Jones was enamored with McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl with the Packers, from the moment he tapped him as Jason Garrett’s successor. What always was going to be a honeymoon season devolved into a mulligan, thanks to a biblical rash of injuries and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. McCarthy was never in danger of not returning in 2021. Never.

This became plainly obvious in October when the Cowboys were 2-6, reeling from consecutive blowout defeats, and McCarthy’s leadership was called into question by fans and media alike. Could he really have lost the locker room just eight games into his tenure? Jones didn’t bristle at the question; he went off on those who asked it.

“One of the, without a question, reasons Mike McCarthy is the coach is because he’s been through it,” he said on 105.3 The Fan, via the Dallas Morning News. “He’s had tough times, and he’s had disappointing times. He’s got a staff that has a lot of experience. He’s got some younger guys on there. … Certainly, we couldn’t have anticipated being at this stage with our team this year. But if I were going to hire for a head coach, that we’re going to be at this stage this year and work through this for the betterment of what’s in store for us for the rest of the year and for what’s for us in the future, I got my man.”

So, McCarthy gets a pass whether the Cowboys, currently dead last in the NFC East, finish 7-9 or 4-12. No matter how ugly their defense can look over the final three contests. No matter how many more no-shows the collective outfit has left in them.

This was the plan from Day 1 — ridiculous or not.

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Cowboys Confirm McCarthy’s Return

Amid dot-connecting theories that suggested a potential one-and-done in Dallas, team COO Stephen Jones announced Monday that McCarthy will in fact return as the team’s head coach in 2021. Jones cited “unprecedented circumstances” in reaching this decision, essentially exonerating McCarthy for a lost season.

“There will be absolutely no change with coach McCarthy. I am surprised someone would question these unprecedented situations that everybody’s been in,” he said on 105.3 The Fan. “On top of that, no one’s making excuses, but we’ve had some challenges in the injury category. If you look at his track record, and his pedigree, he’s consistently won year-in-and-year out. We have the utmost confidence this ship is going to be righted quickly. Mike’s going to be the leader of this group. He’s, certainly, a great head coach. I think we’re going to see that going forward. He’s accomplished a lot, and he’s going to accomplish a lot more before it’s all said and done.”

Jones’ statement echoed that of NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who reported Sunday morning, prior to Dallas’ Week 14 victory, that McCarthy is “safe” from the firing line. His assistants, however, are not. And there will be a scapegoat.

“My understanding, talking to sources inside the organization, Mike McCarthy is safe. But, as one source said, something has to change,” Rapoport said. “Keep an eye on the defensive side of the ball — specifically, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. They basically have the same players they had in 2018. That was a good defense. This, last in points. Something must change.”

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Nolan Reacts to Job Status

Signs have pointed to Nolan’s likely post-season ouster throughout the course of a historically-futile 2020 campaign. But speculation recently intensified after Jerry Jones expressed his desire for a defensive “do-over,” a strong hint that major changes are coming to the Cowboys’ coaching staff.

The Cowboys rank dead last in scoring, having surrendered 400 points across 13 games, nearing the all-time franchise record (436) set in 2010. They’re also 32nd overall against the run, ceding a 307-yard rushing explosion to Cleveland in Week 4 and a 294-yard ground effort to Baltimore in Week 13 — both losses.

Nolan refuses to confront the possibility (probability) of his removal. He knows, but he doesn’t know. The writing’s on the wall, but he chooses to turn a blind eye.

“I don’t even think about it,” Nolan told reporters Monday when asked about his future, via Pro Football Talk. “I just take it a day at a time anyway. It’s really not . . . . I prefer not to answer the question because it’s not what’s on my mind. Just take it a day at a time and try to win this game this weekend against San Francisco and whatever happens after the season, happens. When that time comes, we’ll deal with it if there is a change.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL