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Mike McCarthy has dramatically improved the Dallas Cowboys defense in one important area

Perhaps the Cowboys head coach deserves his fair share of credit.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys offense has success, all credit belongs to Kellen Moore. As touchdowns are flying the likes of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz (what an awesome problem to have) are all given bouquets of roses.

Lately the Cowboys defense has been generating turnovers like crazy and many are anxious to shower Dan Quinn with love. It seems like we are leaving a very important person out.

Mike McCarthy has dramatically improved the Dallas Cowboys defense in one important area

Since he took over as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys last year we have heard one word from Mike McCarthy almost more than any other - turnovers.

McCarthy has continually stressed how important turnovers are and the ripple effect that they can have as far as team success is concerned (a topic we discussed this week here at BTB). With the Cowboys starting off the season 3-1 and having so much success that idea has been easy to see this year.

As noted up top, many are quick to credit Dan Quinn for the sudden change in this department. The purpose here is not to discredit Dan Quinn or take away any sort of credit from him as he has been a welcome addition to this staff, but rather to highlight how the team’s head coach deserves an equal share of that.

The Cowboys have 10 turnovers through their first four games this season, but did you know that they had 12 turnovers through their final four games last season (which pre-dates Dan Quinn)? 22 turnovers through any eight-game stretch is insane which is why we wanted to take a look at that and BTB’s own Aidan Davis was kind enough to demonstrate just how insane it is.

Each dot here represents an eight-game stretch and the Y-Axis is the total sum of turnovers forced in a given one. Any stretch including Mike McCarthy is blue where the others are grey and the current stretch that the Cowboys are in is denoted by the Star.

As you can see very few times since 1990 has Dallas forced 22 turnovers in any eight-game stretch, and what’s more is that there is generally a bit of regression afterwards which suggests some cloudier days as far as takeaways are concerned may be on the horizon (which isn’t the end of the world). But the impact that Mike McCarthy has made, even from the very beginning, is extremely noticeable.

One important thing that should be noted here is that the first stretch including Mike McCarthy literally barely includes him as it is seven games worth of a Jason Garrett-led Cowboys team with only one with McCarthy in charge. From just about the very first moment that McCarthy took over for the Cowboys they continued to have more turnovers in their (at the time) most recent eight-game stretch all the way to even where we are at Week 5 of the 2021 season.

Dan Quinn has certainly made his mark as the Cowboys defensive coordinator and is unquestionably a significant improvement on Mike Nolan in the role. However, Mike McCarthy is the common denominator here, and while he has been an offensive coach throughout his career, the evidence more than illustrates the impact that he has made on the team in this very important measurement.

Give McCarthy his props. He’s earned them.

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