Forget the baffles, the Dallas Cowboys have unparalleled coaching
Sometimes when you’re looking at a team like the Dallas Cowboys, you want to zoom in on the details. But that can lead to conclusions that are quite different from what you draw when you step back and see the big picture. I think I was guilty of this with some of my own criticism of head coach Mike McCarthy. Its offensive and defensive coordinators have received nothing but praise, and rightly so. If we’re being honest about things, however, some of that has to be crammed onto McCarthy as well.
Chief coaching is one of those things that “ends here”, at least in well-run organizations. Even though Jerry Jones takes a lot more credit or blame for things in Dallas than any other owner, the split with Jason Garrett is clear proof that at some point it’s all up to the head coach. And Jones’ unusual circumspection, that may indicate he’s trying to step aside a bit. McCarthy’s hiring was criticized by many and discontent only grew when 2020 quickly derailed. There was an argument made that we had to give McCarthy another year with the lack of an offseason last year, as well as the quick decision that Mike Nolan wasn’t the defensive coordinator they were looking for.
Surprisingly enough, this argument seems much stronger than even those who thought it would be four weeks after the start of the 2021 season. The Cowboys are 3-1, are on a three-game winning streak and have the top of the NFC East standings. Only one team in the entire NFL has a 4-0 record, the Arizona Cardinals. There are a few other franchises, the Los Angeles Chargers and the Carolina Panthers, who could also have been in the undefeated club. But unfortunately for them, they both had to play against Dallas and take the L. If you see what’s floating around in the circus part of the NFL media, you know people say the Cowboys had a schedule. soft. Oh really? Three of the opponents they have faced so far are 3-1 and lead or are tied for the top of their divisions. According to the Power Rankings Guru website, Dallas has faced third strength on the schedule so far based on games played. Still, they’re just on a roll, going from a narrow loss to the reigning league champions, to a narrow victory over these Chargers, to back-to-back dominance. And now their remaining schedule is only the 19th hardest, according to the same site.
How much credit does McCarthy deserve for a good start in 2021? A lot. He gathered the staff. While he definitely sniffed Nolan for his initial staff, he wisely accepted keeping Kellen Moore as the offensive coordinator. No matter how enthusiastic McCarthy was about it back then, he’s very much into it now as Moore has done nothing but dissect his opponents with a Dak Prescott and a good Ezekiel Elliott. health, as well as 80% of the starters planned for the offensive. line. Moore also got a lot of help from Joe Philbin handling some reshuffles on that line, the most important being Terence Steele’s all-important jump from the 2020 struggles as he was forced into the pitch long before. to be ready. There’s no denying that Moore’s appeal and play planning was superb. It’s safe to assume that McCarthy, with his offensive background, has a decent contribution to things, and that McCarthy is doing what effective leaders should. He sets goals and guidelines, and gets out of the way.
We already had a really good idea of what Moore was capable of when he had a more intact offensive roster than last year, although it should also be noted under his belt that he still has to deal with a few missing players at La. ‘el Collins and Michael Gallup. But the hiring of Dan Quinn to replace Nolan was another hire that initially sparked some skepticism. Things didn’t go so well in his own job as a head coach. His previous defensive approach just didn’t seem to fit the list well. To our very pleasant surprise, Quinn does things very differently from what he has done in the past. Obviously, he composes blitzes very effectively. He also finds success while missing DeMarcus Lawrence, Neville Gallimore, Keanu Neal and Donovan Wilson. It’s four entrances. Additionally, second-round pick Kelvin Joseph has yet to take the field.
But with outstanding play from sophomore Trevon Diggs and rookies Micah Parsons, Osa Odighizuwa, and even, despite only being on the pitch for two games, Chauncey Golston, as well as strong acquisitions performances Of free agents Damontae Kazee, Tarell Basham, and Jayron Kearse, Quinn has taken a leap forward in performance. This is especially evident in their “second best in the league” takeout number. With much better ball safety in attack early than last year, they are also tied for the best turnover margin. They get more stops. There is still a problem with giving up big games, but many of them have come in the two dominant wins where they haven’t affected the end result.
The recruit class is shaping up to be one of the most powerful defensive groups in the world. Another big part of the big picture is Will McClay and his recruiting team. Coaches always get a little credit here too for clearly communicating what they wanted in the grocery store. Stack the 2020 class which included CeeDee Lamb, Diggs and Gallimore with this year’s one, and the roster has also taken a big step forward and rejuvenated.
You will notice that the task force coordinator John Fassel was not mentioned. This is only due to placekicker Greg Zuerlein’s hiccups so far. It was handpicked by Fassel. For the most part, the rest of the teams unit carried their weight, but with how a better performance from Zuerlein could have put Dallas at 4-0, Fassel takes a big hit.
Still, we’re dealing with a bit of culture shock here.
It’s been a long time since Dallas had a good coaching staff and people don’t know what to think.
– Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 4, 2021
This team has been prepared for every game so far. The game plans were spot on. Moore and Quinn both adjusted to the situation rather than stubbornly sticking to “their way” of doing things.
And it all starts at the top of the staff. There is a winning cultural building in Dallas. McCarthy is the architect. So give him a bad time out or a late fourth decision. He and his assistants deserve nothing but praise for the way things go once you step back and absorb it all.