Hard Questions Lie Ahead This Offseason For the Dallas Cowboys

Credit: Associated Press

Hard Questions Lie Ahead This Offseason For the Dallas Cowboys

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Hard Questions Lie Ahead This Offseason For the Dallas Cowboys

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Another year and another season that ends in disappointment for the Dallas Cowboys. With the loss to the second seeded San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night in Santa Clara, a season that starts with lofty expectations for America’s team ends with frustration disappointment for Cowboys fans. No mistake, this Dallas Cowboys team was talented this season but you can make the same argument for last season. The only difference is last year’s team didn’t win a playoff game despite being heavily favored to beat a 49ers team led by Jimmy Garoppolo. 

This season, Dallas was able to exercise their playoff demons by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card round and Dallas looked like a Super Bowl contender. The offense was clicking, the defense was superb. Everything lined up perfectly for Dallas to finally prove to people that this year is different. 

In a game that was close throughout, Dallas sputtered and their season came to an end in a 19-12 loss. The defense did a fine job containing the 49ers offense which had been red hot, but the offense struggled and Dak Prescott was the main culprit for the offensive struggles. Mike McCarthy isn’t free of criticism due to questionable clock management and whatever this joke of a last play is. 

It’s another year ending in disappointment and with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones having to apologize to fans for another letdown performance. The Dallas Cowboys are left with two major questions heading into this offseason.

What do you do about head coach Mike McCarthy?

Credit: Associated Press

Mike McCarthy isn’t a bad head coach by any means. He’s mediocre at best which isn’t saying much but he isn’t incompetent. Since being hired by the Cowboys in 2020 after being away from football for a year, McCarthy has been average at best. 

His first season with Dallas was rough but considering how he lost his star QB Dak Prescott to a season ending ankle injury, you can give him a break for the rough start. His second season was much better as the Cowboys finished 12-5 and won the NFC East during the 2021 season. Dallas accomplished many impressive feats with McCarthy.

  • Led the league in scoring offense
  • Finished first in Team DVOA 
  • Had four players make All-Pro teams
  • Swept the NFC East

Despite accomplishing those feats, Dallas’s season came to an abrupt end when they fell to the six seeded San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs. In that game, Dallas tied an NFL record for the most penalties in a playoff game with 14 penalties for 89 yards. The team as a whole was undisciplined that season as they led the league in penalties that year as well. Dallas came out unprepared in that playoff game and that comes off as a reflection of their head coach. 

Fast forward to this season, Dallas went 13-4 and many believed that this team was destined for a deep playoff run. As talented as this team was, they were inconsistent. Blowing double digit leads, not making the necessary adjustments at halftime, Dallas had more questions than answers. Again, this falls solely on the head coach. The Cowboys played the 49ers tough in the Divisional round but Dallas came apart late in the game. 

From questionable time management, to choosing not to go for it late in the fourth quarter McCarthy has made some questionable decisions. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has reiterated multiple times that he will not consider a coaching change and stood on that after another disappointing end to their season.

There is no denying the Cowboys are ultra-talented. They have lots of skill on both sides of the ball, but do they have the right person leading the team? Sean Payton, who is interested in coming back to coaching and has had multiple coaching interviews, has been rumored to Dallas going back to last offseason. Payton is still under contract with the Saints and if a team wants Sean, they would have to give up a lot to get him. 

Could Dallas offer something close to what New Orleans wants to get Payton if they were to choose to part ways with McCarthy? Maybe but if McCarthy were to be fired, Dan Quinn who has been a head coach could be the next in line. Quinn is a well respected coach but he has multiple coaching interviews for the past few weeks, and he could be gone soon. McCarthy is likely to be the coach for another season but his seat should be hot.

What should the Cowboys do about quarterback Dak Prescott?

When it comes to the quarterback, Dallas has two options. Should they keep Dak Prescott or should they trade Dak Prescott? The answer is they should keep Dak Prescott. Prescott is an interesting quarterback to evaluate. He is good, but he’s not great. If I had to make a tier of quarterbacks, Dak would be placed in tier four. This tier has quarterbacks that are good but they aren’t good enough to elevate the talent that is around them. Prescott had a pretty good season this year, and his stats looked like this.

  • 12th in QBR
  • 13th in TD Passes
  • 14th in Completion Percentage
  • 0.154 in EPA/play (8th)

However, the biggest problem that has plagued Dak for quite some time is inconsistency. He would have one game in which he looks like a top 10 quarterback and he follows it up with a game in which he looks like someone who should be a backup. Dak Prescott has some good qualities to his game. 

His movement in the pocket is underrated and his playmaking ability is good. But he has an average arm, and he tends to be very inconsistent when it comes to passing the ball. Against the 49ers on Sunday, Prescott wasn’t good in any facet. He had difficulty reading the field, he made costly mistakes and he just didn’t make enough plays to help his team win.

Dak is a good quarterback but he’s getting paid like he’s a top five quarterback, when his body of work doesn’t back up the money he is being paid. Dallas shouldn’t move off of Prescott, but finding a replacement would be difficult for the Cowboys.  If a team were to ask if Prescott was available I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cowboys answered the phone. That doesn’t mean the Cowboys would trade him but they would be open to listen to any offers. 

Prescott is 30 years old, it seems that he is close to hitting his ceiling as a quarterback which could be a bad thing for Dallas. Believe it or not, the Cowboys Super Bowl window is rapidly closing. Dallas could easily think about what their next steps could be if they have another early round exit in the postseason next season. Dak didn’t play well on Sunday but when the team’s Twitter account throws the quarterback under the bus, you could only question if his leash is getting shortened by the minute.

Prescott has shown he is a capable starter in this league, but he isn’t someone that can play consistently at a high level week in and week out. Dallas should keep Dak but he will have a closer eye on him when next season occurs. Prescott is a top 15 quarterback in this league, but he needs to play consistently if he wants to help bring a Super Bowl to Dallas. 

He hasn’t shown it but Dallas shouldn’t move off of their franchise quarterback. The free agency QB class is underwhelming and if they want CJ Stroud or Bryce Young in this upcoming NFL Draft they would have to give up a ton to move up. Prescott will be the starter in Dallas for a few more years but don’t be surprised if Dallas could potentially move Dak. Will they? Probably not and Dallas is better off keeping Prescott and not looking to move off of him.



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