Everything is bigger in Texas. So is the pressure to coach one of the biggest brands in sports, the Dallas Cowboys, deep in the heart of Texas. Despite coming off two consecutive 12-win seasons, things aren’t appearing too secure for Dallas’ head coach. Amidst a group of coaches and general managers rumored to be on the hot seat entering 2023, Mike McCarthy finds himself in bad company.
“As far as my relationship with Jerry ... we are in an excellent spot. The partnership that we have, he’s excited about,” McCarthy said, per Tyler Dragon of USA Today. “He told me a number of times this week that he wants me to coach here as long as coach [Tom] Landry did. I said, ‘OK, that’s a long time.’ I feel really good about our relationship. I think our ability to discuss and disagree, we do a good job at that. I think that’s important.”
Tell yourself whatever you need to, Mike.
This isn’t to say that Jones didn’t say that. Or that McCarthy has done a bad job. But racking up regular-season wins isn’t the goal in Dallas. Neither is making the playoffs. The aim is the same every year: win the Super Bowl. The Cowboys haven’t even played in an NFC Championship Game in nearly three decades, and McCarthy is 1-2 in the postseason.
If McCarthy’s squad makes another early exit from the playoffs in 2023 (or misses them altogether), it may not be his team anymore.
The recently-released Ezekiel Elliott seems to be zeroing in on his short list of potential suitors, including an AFC North contender and a bitter rival of the Dallas Cowboys. Who is the best team for Elliott to choose?
Signing with Dallas’ arch-rival would undeniably take a hammer to Elliott’s legacy with the Cowboys. But Elliott may be feeling salty after being denied an opportunity to retire as a Cowboy. Playing against the Cowboys twice per season may be appealing.
Outside of Philadelphia, it’s easy to understand why Elliott has identified the Bengals, who’ve qualified for a Super Bowl and AFC Championship Game in back-to-back seasons. Cincinnati has become Kansas City’s main rival in the AFC. Who wouldn’t want to play with Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins?
It’s difficult to envision the Bengals reciprocating Elliott’s interest, however. There had been some whispers regarding Joe Mixon being a potential cap casualty, but it currently appears as if Mixon will remain in Cincinnati. Would there be enough carries available to satisfy both Mixon and Elliott?
The Jets appear in Elliott’s top three as well—a team on the cusp of acquiring four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers’ arrival in East Rutherford could make the Jets immediate Super Bowl contenders, hence Elliott’s interest.
Things get a little muddier when projecting Elliott to the Jets, but it’s not impossible. Starting running back Breece Hall was enjoying a standout rookie campaign before suffering a season-ending torn ACL in Week 7. Hall is expected to make a full recovery for his impending sophomore season, but running backs often require a full calendar year before completely recovering (just ask J.K. Dobbins and the Baltimore Ravens).
The Cowboys made waves when they traded a late-round draft pick for Stephon Gilmore, but some feel that is not enough. There’s a good reason why the Cowboys should keep their focus on cornerbacks in next month’s draft.
A case can be made they don’t need to find an immediate starter anymore but they still need to find an eventual starter. The need has remained.
Playing on the last year of his deal, Stephon Gilmore is a band-aid. He’s an excellent one, but a band-aid nonetheless. His presence means the Cowboys aren’t forced to find a plug-and-play cornerback this year, but finding a cornerback capable of taking the reins in 2024 should still be high priority.
With so many quality prospects expected in the early rounds, Dallas would be wise to use some foresight to take advantage.
Even this year the Cowboys could use some help at cornerback. As things currently stand, Diggs, Gilmore and DaRon Bland are Dallas’ top-3 cornerbacks. Behind them, things get uncertain.
Jourdan Lewis, Israel Mukuamu, Nahshon Wright, Kelvin Joseph and Isaac Taylor-Stuart currently populate the depth chart. Coming off a Lisfrac injury and on the books for $5,872,550 against the cap, Lewis’ future with the Cowboys is somewhat in doubt. And after re-signing special teams standout C.J. Goodwin to a new deal, Joseph’s future on the team is in question as well. The talent pool in September may not be as deep as it looks today.
Blogging the Boys’ Mike Poland gives an in-depth look at draft prospect Calijah Kancey.
A highly athletic defensive tackle that moves with amazing speed and strength. With his size, speed and burst he almost looks like fellow Pittsburgh defender Aaron Donald.
He doesn’t allow his stature to dictate the tempo.
Plays the A and B gap in both run and pass plays with great efficiency.
Strong and solid hands with incredible grip strength.
Always wins as the lowest man. Helps him to consistently get leverage.
Shows good strength to anchor in the middle as a one-technique defender on run plays.
He played primarily as a nose tackle at Pittsburgh but may be seen more as a defensive end or three-tech in the NFL.
Size is the biggest concern. His weight will be the biggest struggle and this will see him getting bullied by bigger bodied NFL offensive linemen.
Will be viewed more as designated pass rusher limiting his versatility.
Can take exaggerated angles to win on run plays.
Calijah Kancey is an athletic demon as an interior defensive lineman. Most see him similarly as Aaron Donald and not just because of playing for the same team. He’s fast, quick and produces the same way and rate as Donald did. But at the same time he’s also as small and underweight as Donald was (let’s not forget that players like Donald are unicorns that play at his size).
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