Paylor: McCarthy is probably safe, but "anything can happen"

Terez Paylor does not think Jerry Jones will fire Mike McCarthy after just one season, but the Cowboys' final four games could impact that decision

Reiter Than You
December 09, 2020 - 3:07 pm
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The Dallas Cowboys lost for the sixth time in seven games Tuesday, and they didn’t look all that great in the process. The Cowboys led the Baltimore Ravens 10-7 early in the second quarter but were outscored 27-7 the rest of the way, ultimately losing 34-17 to fall to 3-9 on the season.

The NFC East is the worst division in football, and the Cowboys are at the very bottom of it. Is there any chance that Mike McCarthy is one-and-done in Dallas? Might Jerry Jones fire him this offseason?

“What it was going to take before the season was gross incompetence, [and] I don’t know if Jerry Jones has seen this season that way just because of the ridiculous spate of injuries they’ve had to deal with,” Yahoo Sports senior NFL reporter Terez Paylor said on Reiter Than You. “And that’s real. That’s true. So I guess the answer is no, I kind of don’t see it, but anything can happen in this league.”

The Cowboys were 2-3 with Prescott, who suffered a horrific leg injury in a Week 5 win over the New York Giants in October. Four of those five games were decided by one possession. The Cowboys’ seven games without Prescott, however, have been a different story. They are 1-6, with five of the losses coming by at least 14 points.

“If these guys just quit on him and they don’t compete and they’re not even close the last three, four games of the season, then I could see that coming down the pike,” Paylor said of the Cowboys moving on from McCarthy. “But outside of that, they’ve paid him a lot of money – and I know Jerry Jones has a lot of money, but when you lose Dak Prescott, your season’s shot.”

The Cowboys will finish with a losing record for the first time since 2015, when they went 4-12. Dallas plays the Bengals (2-9-1) in Cincinnati this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

“My hunch right now is that it certainly has the look of a team that might try to run it back next year while trying to upgrade the offensive line, at least get some reinforcements there,” Paylor said. “Somebody’s head will be on a platter, though, likely on defense. It’s a group that never has completely recovered from their atrocious start to the season on that side of the ball. Somebody is going to have to pay. If it’s not Mike McCarthy, my hunch is that it’s going to be [defensive coordinator] Mike Nolan.”