It’s difficult to remember a time when Cowboys fans were more angered about the end of a season than this one, and rightfully so. Dallas had its most talented roster of at least the past decade and maybe since the dynasty teams of the 1990s. But it all came to an extremely disappointing ending last Sunday when the Cowboys fell 23-17 to the San Francisco 49ers.
Of the six wild-card games played last weekend, five home teams either led or were tied after the first quarter, five home teams led at halftime, and five home teams won.
The only one not to do any of those things was the Cowboys.
For how unprepared and undisciplined Dallas played in its season-ending loss, a large portion of the blame is on head coach Mike McCarthy. While coaches have been replaced for less, it appears owner and general manager Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones are committed to giving McCarthy a third season in his current role.
Considering Dallas’ 21 unrestricted free agents and interest from other teams in offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, it’s unlikely that McCarthy is going to have a better team on paper entering next season.
So how does he sell to the Cowboys fans that the team will actually be better on the field?
“We’re going to be better,” he responded Wednesday during an end-of-season news conference. “We’re going to be better just through the process. No. 1, I trust our personnel process. I think we have to give our personnel department (credit) just what we did last year to this year. The change we had on defense from a personnel and coaching staff standpoint, that’s the biggest change that I’ve ever been a part of, both the player and coaching. To pull all that together, there’s a lot of hard work and a lot of credit that goes to a number of people. I have the same confidence that we’ll do that moving forward.
“Now, it’s going to be a challenge. You can’t keep everybody. But that’s the era that we’re in. We’ll go through that and (we are) counting on another excellent draft class to go with the two that we have (had). You’ve got to remember, I coached the youngest team in the league for a number of years, so I have great belief in draft and development. This will probably be hopefully the first year that we can have a normal offseason program. I think with that, the combination of veterans and young players that we have, I think we definitely can take a step forward.”
Here are some other key topics discussed during McCarthy’s 47 minutes with reporters.
Job security. McCarthy said he has had “very positive conversations” with Jerry Jones the last few days. McCarthy has no concerns about his job security.
“I don’t put a lot into it because I know what I personally put into this,” he said. “I understand what goes on here every day. I know how to win. I know how to win in this league. I know how to win playoff games. I know how to win a championship. So, I have great confidence in that. What we’ve built here in two seasons, I feel very good about, and I think with that, you just stay true to that.”