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Cowboys news: “Ridiculous” speculation over Mike McCarthy being a one-and-done in Dallas

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys executive ‘surprised’ at speculation team might fire Coach Mike McCarthy - Des Bieler, The Washington Post

Things have clearly not gone the way Mike McCarthy expected when he joined the Dallas Cowboys, for many reasons, and the 4-9 record with three games remaining has naturally led some to question McCarthy’s job security. That caught Stephen Jones by surprise.

“There will be absolutely no change with Coach McCarthy,” Stephen Jones, the Cowboys’ chief operating officer and director of player personnel, said Monday with a laugh.

In an appearance on Dallas sports-radio station 105.3 the Fan, Jones was asked about comments before Sunday’s game by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who said his understanding after talking to people in the Cowboys organization was that McCarthy “is safe.” Rapoport added that a source claimed “something has to change,” but he suggested the scrutiny might fall on defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, whose unit has struggled.

I am surprised someone would question [McCarthy], these unprecedented situations that everybody’s been in,” Jones said Monday. “On top of that, no one’s making excuses, but we’ve had some challenges in the injury category.”

Cowboys’ Jerry Jones lashes out at ‘ridiculous’ Mike McCarthy speculation - Greg Joyce, New York Post

Stephen Jones wasn’t the only one within the Cowboys organization who bristled at the speculation that Mike McCarthy might be a one-and-done coach. Jerry Jones on Tuesday called the speculation ridiculous.

“Not one time have I been in any discussion, had any dream, been sitting by myself, have I given a thought to anything but Mike McCarthy being our coach next year and being our coach in the future,” Jones said Tuesday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, per USA Today. “How in the hell something like that could get going with a conversation … is ridiculous.”

“I don’t understand frankly just how so ridiculous this conversation is in terms of it actually having any meat of the bone,” he added. “I don’t think I’ve even dreamed the thought of him not being coach.”

McCarthy’s first season as head coach in Dallas has been far from a dream, with the Cowboys sitting in last place of the NFC East with a 4-9 record. They lost quarterback Dak Prescott to a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle in Week 5 against the Giants and then lost his backup, Andy Dalton, for two games due to a concussion.

Mike Nolan reacts to being on Cowboys hot seat due to historically bad defense: ‘I don’t even think about it’ - Patrik Walker, CBS Sports

Mike McCarthy’s job may be safe for now, but defensive coordinator Mike Nolan hasn’t received the same vote of confidence. When asked about the speculation, Nolan revealed he’s not really spending much time thinking about it.

The needle of change is instead aimed at Mike Nolan, the team’s defensive coordinator who leads a historically bad unit that has been roundly criticized for not only continued lack of execution but, more importantly, lack of effort. The much-needed moral and actual victory over the lowly Cincinnati Bengals doesn’t change the temperature beneath Nolan’s seat one iota, sources told CBS Sports on Monday, and it will take some very fervent convincing to sway owner Jerry Jones into keeping him onboard.

For his part, when asked about his future in Dallas, Nolan shrugged off the horizon and instead chooses to live in the moment.

“You know, I don’t even think about it,” he told media on Monday. “I just take it a day at a time anyway. It’s really not — I prefer not to even answer the question just because it’s not what’s on my mind. We just take it a day at a time and try to win this week’s game against San Francisco, and whatever happens after the season happens.”

How the Cowboys can be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention Sunday - Michael Gehlken, Dallas Morning News

Due solely to the dire state of the NFC East, the Cowboys are technically still in the playoff hunt. But with three games left on the schedule, each contest poses a heightened risk of being officially eliminated from playoff contention, and it starts this week against the 49ers.

It won’t take much this weekend for the Cowboys to become postseason-ineligible. The simplest fact is they will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention if they lose Sunday at home to the San Francisco 49ers. There is no way they can reach the playoffs and lose any of their final three games.

The Cowboys have about a 1% chance to qualify for the postseason, according to models for The New York Times and FiveThirtyEight.

“As long as you’re mathematically in it, you’re doing everything you can to stay in the mix,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said Monday on “The Fan” KRLD-FM (105.3). “We’re mathematically in it. We know we’re going to need a lot of help, especially as it pertains to [Washington]. They’re playing really good football, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Kyle Shanahan ‘up for anything’ at QB vs. Cowboys - Kyle Madson, Niners Wire

Speaking of the 49ers, they’ve been struggling with injuries all season as well. Backup quarterback Nick Mullens has been the starter for the last three games, but a poor performance on Sunday has cast doubt on who will be under center against Dallas.

Nick Mullens’ rough outing in a Week 14 loss to the Washington Football Team raised questions throughout the contest about a possible switch to backup quarterback CJ Beathard. While head coach Kyle Shanahan thought about making a mid-game change under center, he elected to stay with Mullens even after his second turnover of the game that Washington returned for a touchdown.

The questions about the team’s QB situation didn’t stop Monday in Shanahan’s video conference with reporters. He was mum on who would start, but left the door for a change wide open.

“Yeah, I think after the way the game went yesterday, we’ll think about everything,” Shanahan said. “Today I met with the players, met with the staff, met with the team. Just finished meeting with the offense then came in here. So, I haven’t really had a chance to discuss that with anyone, but I’m up for anything right now. So, we’ll see how that goes over the next couple days.”

NFL Week 14 grades: Cowboys get an ‘A’ for pummeling Bengals, Ravens get ‘A-’ for wild Monday win - John Breech, CBS Sports

The Cowboys have had a rather forgettable season, but they’re not quite at the level of bad where they just get beat by anyone. They showed that in their big win over the Bengals on Sunday, and it’s earned some respect.

With the Cowboys playing so well, they didn’t need much help from Dalton, but he decided to provide some anyway. The former Bengals quarterback got the last laugh on his old team when he hit Amari Cooper with a perfect strike for an 11-yard score in the second quarter.

Overall, Dalton threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

The Cowboys still aren’t a good team, but the good news for them is that you don’t have to be good to win the NFC East. Although they’re two games behind Washington in the NFC East, the Cowboys do have one small advantage on their side over the final three weeks of the season: They have the easiest remaining schedule of any team in the division. A lot of crazy things have happened in 2020 and although it feels like the Cowboys are out of the race, let’s not completely close the door on them just yet.

Is Cowboys’ offensive line in better shape than we think? Decoding Kellen Moore - Bob Sturm, The Athletic

Aside from losing Dak Prescott, the litany of injuries along the offensive line have been the biggest challenge for this team in 2020. But the Cowboys have been getting some surprisingly solid performances from that group lately in spite of all the turmoil.

The changes up front have finally slowed down, as Dallas has kept the same group of five since the first drive against Washington on Thanksgiving. The trip to Baltimore was a bad night for the team, but the offensive line held up pretty well overall. In other words, these kids seem to be developing a bit. Not a ton, but they’re not all discards. I am somewhat encouraged.

I know left tackle is a favorite target for a top pick to go find the “next Tyron,” but I would argue that this is not a judicious use of resources based on where the Cowboys are. They are not asking 36-year-olds to hold on. They have a few 30-year old veterans, but this year they’ve fortified with a group of 23-year olds who are competent or at least have a chance.

In other words, 2020 has allowed us to look at Knight, Steele, Williams, Biadasz and McGovern and see that all are worth continuing to develop under Joe Philbin. The Cowboys have invested in a pretty nice crop, and I don’t feel compelled to add to this group. I would seek to keep Looney if the price is right, but they have their 2021 squad at offensive line already signed and in-house. That should make many feel good about this particular spot.

3 potential landing spots for Dak Prescott in 2021 - Michael H Vu, The Landry Hat

Dak Prescott says he wants to stay with the Cowboys, and the team has reciprocated that sentiment, but a deal ultimately has to get done. If it doesn’t though, there would be a very long list of teams lining up for his services, including the Cowboys’ opponent this week.

From one legendary team to another. How about it? Could Dak Prescott pack his bags and head for the west coast? It would be a sad day, if so, especially if he joins one of the Cowboys’ oldest rivals. But anything is possible.

Mr. Jimmy Garoppolo may have used up all his sick days in San Francisco. The quarterback has spent four seasons with the 49ers, totaling only 31 regular-season games. Unlike Prescott with the Dallas Cowboys, Garoppolo does not carry the feature of availability in his tool kit.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan has proven to be a quarterback whisperer of sorts. He has coached up Matt Ryan, Robert Griffin III, and Kirk Cousins. Shanahan turned 41 recently.

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