Frisco, Texas – It was Question 17 in the press conference, about 7 minutes, 50 seconds after the Dallas Cowboys lost Sunday night 19-3 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Before the season there was a story about you being on a hot seat,” a reporter asked coach Mike McCarthy. “After a performance like this, do you feel the pressure fluctuate?”
“I’m 0-1, we are 0-1 as a football team,” McCarthy said. “I obviously got more work out of this game than I’d like, but that’s our job.”
Fair or not, each week will be a referendum on McCarthy’s near and distant future. That was the biggest story coming of the season after a disappointing end to the 2021 campaign with a home stadium loss to San Francisco 49ers in January.
With the Cincinnati Bengals, the reigning AFC Asian Cup champions, visiting AT&T on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS), McCarthy will be looking to avoid his first 0-2 start since his first year with the Green Bay Packers (2006).
Now he’ll have to do it without starting the quarterback Duck Prescott, who had surgery on his right thumb on Monday. Prescott’s return is uncertain, though owner and general manager Jerry Jones said at 105.3 The Fan in Dallas during the week that the quarterback could be back in four weeks. Before the surgery, sources said Prescott would need six to eight weeks to recover.
If the Cowboys lose to Cincinnati, McCarthy’s talk will only intensify, despite Jones’ announcement at the start of training camp.
“I want to be really clear: He wouldn’t be sitting here today if I didn’t think he was the guy to lead this team to the Super Bowl,” Jones said in July.
But should McCarthy be on the proverbial hot seat?
On the day he took office in 2020, he thought he was inheriting an offensive streak that includes the permanent Pro Bowlers in Tyrone SmithAnd the Zach Martin And the Travis Frederickwith correct processing at the highest level Lyle Collins.
They have not played a game together under McCarthy, with Frederick retiring before the 2020 season.
McCarthy was also getting Prescott, who was apparently entering his prime. In Game 5 of the 2020 season, Prescott sustained a compound fracture and dislocated his right ankle. Last season, he missed one game due to a calf strain that affected him for most of the second half of the season.
And now the broken thumb.
Sunday’s game against the Bengals will be McCarthy’s 35th game in Dallas. Prescott will have missed 13 of them and will likely miss the next three games, if not more.
“It’s football, it really is,” McCarthy said when asked if he felt he hadn’t taken a break. “I lost my starting quarterback. It’s unfortunate. Honestly, my feelings go to the person because I know how much these guys are into this. But yeah, it’s all part of the challenge. It just makes it sweeter when you get to where you want to go” .
While injuries can derail the season, McCarthy has indicated on multiple occasions that his best moment – winning the Super Bowl XLV – came with the Packers needing 77 players that season. When the Cowboys finished the list this year, he noted that 10 rookies played major roles in the Packers’ Super Bowl victory.
It might sound like the Cowboys had a lot of offensive line groups under McCarthy. Since the start of 2020, the Cowboys have used 43 different units of five people in at least one shot together, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. This ranks 13th in the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles lead the way with 61.
Not only is Prescott missing Sunday’s game, but safety too Jayron Kerrwho sprained his left knee and led the Cowboys in tackles last season, and the left keeper Conor McGovern. Add to that, the cowboys lost the left interference Tyrone Smith Until December with a hamstring tear in one of the final workouts of boot camp.
Dude, it’s my league, man, ‘court end Dalton Schultz He said. “[McCarthy] Like, “Listen, the guys in this room, they’re going to play. At some point something will happen. You’ll get a chance and you’re expected to play at a high level.”
Jones’ history must be taken into account as to what may or may not happen with McCarthy.
He’s made one change of training per season since becoming owner and general manager in 1989.
In 2010, the Cowboys started 1-7 and Jones replaced Wade Phillips with Jason Garrett. Coincidentally, the last game Phillips coached was a 45-7 loss to the McCarthy Packers at Lambeau Field where the efforts of several players came into question.
Phillips was removed 10 months from the NFC East win and supplement victory at the time of his dismissal. If this season goes in a similar direction, there could be another parallel to 2010. In the sixth game of that season, midfielder Tony Romo suffered what turned out to be a broken collarbone at the end of the season.
None of this history matters to the players. It doesn’t really matter which of the outside noises. What matters is the win over Cincinnati.
“We’re clearly under the microscope, and that’s okay,” Martin said. “I think the guys understand that. It’s part of the game. Everyone deals with injuries. Yeah, it’s unfortunate that some guys didn’t go in there, and Duck got hurt on the set. But we’re not the only team that deals with injuries, and it’s really up to the players. I think. That we can do a better job of kind of rising to the occasion when some guys are out. It’s not all up to the coaches. It’s up to the players to take some responsibility and take some slack.”