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Former NFL head coach makes argument for Cowboys being close and retaining Mike McCarthy

A former Super Bowl-winning coach made the argument for Dallas’ approach to the offseason following their playoff loss.

NFL: Super Bowl LIII Exprience Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We are on our fourth week of the offseason for the Dallas Cowboys, and that it began so early frustrating and confusing. In that time we have pondered a lot of questions and wondered whether or not decisions made were ultimately the best ones. Mike McCarthy is returning for a fifth season with the team and will do so with a third defensive coordinator under his supervision (one still to be determined at the time of this writing). Jerry Jones noted while at the Senior Bowl that the team would have an ‘all-in’ approach to the offseason, but exactly what that means remains clouded in ambiguity.

The frustration we all feel is obviously a result of the Cowboys not achieving the ultimate goal and falling as short as a playoff team can in that capacity. It is frustrating in a different way to point out that they accomplished a lot of good before the bad fell upon them, but that doesn’t mean that it is untrue.

This week I am in Las Vegas on Radio Row for my show The Morning Huddle on San Antonio’s Sports Star. We will be interviewing people all week long and sharing any interesting Cowboys-related nuggets that come out of them, and on Tuesday we received one from Super Bowl-winning head coach Brian Billick.

“The knee-jerk reaction is you throw the baby out with the bath water in ‘we’ve got to do everything.’ Well no. Sometimes it’s very subtle. And you have to begin with the idea that... and we’re talking about it right now with Kansas City, how hard is it to go back to repeat? It’s hard to just win one. The things that have to align for you to go to and win a Super Bowl... a lot of it is fate. Obviously you don’t just dismiss it to that because there’s a lot of things you’ve got to do to set yourself up that you create your own luck so to speak. It’s a hard process.”

“Dallas has to look at... they were a good team. They did a lot of good things. But you’ve got to go back and be very critical about and analyze. Okay, is there a little something we need to do? If we’ve got to do a lot of things then you’re talking about a total rebuild, that’s a totally different project. But what kept us, what were the strategic things that kept us from getting to the next game? Sometimes it’s just... they were a better team. Or they were a better team that day. Kansas City and Baltimore... I think Baltimore’s the better team. If you want to try to quantify it, but not on that day. That’s the great thing about this game. That 60 minutes is just long enough not for the best team to win, but the team that played best.”

“For the Cowboys... and Jerry’s one to, he’s going to do it all. I applaud that he kept Mike McCarthy. They’ll make some subtle changes along the way because they were close and see if, okay we’ve got the elements, we’ve got to add a few things here and there that happened during the season. But they’re not that far off compared to a lot of other teams that boy there’s a lot more to do.”

Coach Billick made made this same argument for his old team in the Baltimore Ravens which reinforced why we all felt the way we did when Baltimore was bounced in the AFC Championship Game by the Kansas City Chiefs. He is certainly fair in noting that Dallas should not throw the baby out with the bath water in that they were a 12-win team (for the third year in a row at that), and that perhaps they simply were just not the better team against the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium. Cooler heads should prevail when emotions following a loss are running rampant.

But we can talk ourselves in circles by saying that being the inferior team on the most important day is a trend that has followed this team for almost three decades, something that separates Dallas from Baltimore in that sense. The Cowboys have the most amazing ability to keep themselves firmly in the mix to where they allow for epic heartbreak after heartbreak without the ultimate payoff.

As the playoff loss continues to get further and further in the rearview mirror, it seems that a lot of people nationally are more and more in agreement with Billick in that Dallas made the reasonable decision by keeping McCarthy. You can certainly argue that the “reasonable” decision happened to line up with the “easy” one, but just because that is the case does not mean that it was unreasonable. Perhaps this is the reality that we all have to reckon with as the full offseason draws near.

Do you feel more accepting of the offseason since it initially began? Has time begun to heal that wound? Or do you still feel like Dallas has gone down a path that they ultimately should have avoided?

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