Do something, Mike: The Cowboys are only getting worse, and it’s up to McCarthy to stop the bleeding - Kevin Sherrington, DMN
Mike McCarthy isn’t endearing himself to the Cowboys fanbase or media.
You had almost two weeks to get ready for the Ravens’ one-dimensional offense, and instead your defense played like it was in one of those dreams where you walk into class and the professor is handing out final exams and you have no clue what’s going on or even what class this is. What’s more, you’re naked. You know that dream, Mike? You should be that embarrassed.
The NFL is so embarrassed for you, the league mercifully slid you out of primetime for the Dec. 20 game against the 49ers. Moved you up to noon on the undercard. Mark this date in history: Dec. 9, 2020. America finally has had enough of America’s Team. We used to think it was awful that it’s been a quarter-century since Dallas showed up for a conference title game. Now the Cowboys are so bad, even the legend won’t do.
Tex Schramm isn’t just spinning in his grave these days, he’s on a rotisserie.
By the way, Mike, do you know what game’s subbing for yours in prime time Dec. 20? Cleveland and the Giants. Pretty ironic, right? Kevin Stefanski and Joe Judge were, like you, two of the five new head coaches in the league this year. Ron Rivera and Matt Rhule debuted in Washington and Carolina, respectively. Not a good time for the five of you to break in new teams. Pandemic restrictions on training camp and all that.
The thing is, Mike, of those five teams, yours is the only one going the wrong way.
If the Joneses aren’t going to fire Mike McCarthy, then Mike Nolan has to be the Cowboys’ scapegoat - Jean-Jacques Taylor, DMN
If McCarthy stays, someone might have to go, and that someone could be defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
So either defensive coordinator Mike Nolan or Fassel is getting fired at the end of the season.
Nolan, McCarthy’s longtime friend, is the logical choice. They’re good friends and Nolan put McCarthy on his staff when he was San Francisco’s head coach.
So McCarthy is understandably loyal to Nolan.
But this defense has been trash all season, and it has gotten worse. It’s one of the worst defenses in NFL and franchise history with essentially the same group of players who were middle-of-the-pack last year.
The team’s key young players, Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, have regressed and you can’t point to any schematic or tactical advantage Nolan provides.
When every student flunks, it’s on the teacher because they haven’t figured out how to clearly deliver their message and get the students to learn the material.
Why is irrelevant. The NFL is a bottom line business.
These Cowboys rank last in the NFL in points (32.8), rushing yards (167.8) and yards per carry (5.2) allowed. They’re 30th in third-down defense (49.4%) and tied for second-to-last in takeaways (11).
This defense does nothing well.
Mailbag: Ranking The Cowboys’ Roster Needs? - Nick Eatman & Jonny Auping, The Mothership
What do the Cowboys need most to fix this mess?
It’s clear that the Cowboys need help on in all three phases of the team. I see the three primary needs as an anchor on the defensive line, safety (which has been a need for years) and an offensive lineman. How would you rank their needs? — JIM WHATLEY / HENDERSON, TX
Nick: I would slingshot cornerback up to the top. That might be your biggest need come free agency and the draft. I would imagine Chido Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis both test the waters and could be gone next year. Anthony Brown and Trevon Diggs are solid but this team could use a better No. 1 corner. I would say CB, safety and D-tackle would be the order of my needs but you could convince me of anything that helps the defense.
Jonny: There isn’t an area of this defense that wouldn’t be drastically improved by a Pro Bowl caliber player. I think linebacker is a legitimate need, and the best offenses Dallas has faced this year have proven that. Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie’s future on this team are uncertain, so cornerback is a need, as well. The secondary just has to improve. I’d probably put safety and cornerback as the top two needs if they want to put a great defense on the field in the next few years.
‘A little weird’: Andy Dalton returns to Cincinnati with the Dallas Cowboys - Tyler Dragon, Cincinnati Enquirer
Andy Dalton returns to his former professional home, Cincinnati.
Nine years, 133 regular-season games and three Pro Bowl invitations. He’s the Cincinnati Bengals’ all-time leader in completions (2,757), touchdown passes (204), passer rating (87.5) and 300-yard passing games (28). Andy Dalton made an indelible mark on the Bengals’ franchise. The 33-year-old quarterback makes his return to Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
“It will be different being on the other side of the field, the other locker room and all that kind of stuff. It’ll kind of feel a little weird being on the other side of it, but it’s because I spent so much time there and everything,” Dalton said to the Dallas media this week. “I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to getting back and playing in Cincinnati.”
Dalton’s former teammate speaks about him.
“Yeah, I mean, obviously it will be a little weird but hoping for the best. I have talked to him all year. He will be a lifelong friend. He is one of those guys that once he leaves it doesn’t really mean in terms of your relationship with that person. He’s always going to be a dear friend of mine,” Bengals running back Giovani Bernard, who spent his first seven seasons as Dalton’s teammate, said. “Just a good guy, man, and a guy that I admire very much for what he has done on the field and off the field, especially, just good people, his whole entire family just good people. Excited to see him on the field and hopefully he can ball out but not ball out too much.”
Big Picture: 5 Storylines for Cowboys & Bengals - Kyle Youmans, The Mothership
A little update on the Cowboys opponent, the Bengals.
The Bengals have had a rough 2020 campaign on the injury front much like the Cowboys as they’ve had to deal with the loss of rookie quarterback Joe Burrow and the extended absence of running back Joe Mixon. Burrow’s season came to an end in Week 11 against Washington as the 2020 Draft’s top overall pick tore both his ACL and MCL during a third quarter drive. He was well on his way to a standout rookie season with 13 touchdowns and over 2,600 yards in his first ten starts. Mixon on the other hand has been inactive since Week 6 with a lingering foot issue and caused a stable of backs to be used instead. Along with the two major missing pieces on offense, receivers Tee Higgins and Auden Tate, linemen Jonah Williams, B.J. Finney, and Alex Redmond are all banged up and have missed time this season.
Both Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley have seen significant playing time at quarterback since the season-ending injury to Burrow. Findley was the first to replace Burrow after he left the game against Washington and went 3-of-10 for 30 yards and an interception before being replaced by Allen as the starter the week after. Allen got the nod against both the Giants and Dolphins before Findley took over and completed six of his seven passes. Allen is still expected to be the starter in Week 14 against Dallas, but there are decisions to be made for Zac Taylor and his staff, nonetheless.
Stephen Jones isn’t sweating getting Dak Prescott signed.
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on @1053thefan: “Our issues in our negotiations with Dak have been that we’re wanting to be more committed, in terms of the (number of years). We’re not nervous to sign Dak. His makeup is all the right things. He’s a great leader. He’s a great player.”— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 9, 2020
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