Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says Mike McCarthy ‘is the guy’

By David Helman
FOX Sports Dallas Cowboys Writer

OXNARD, Calif. – Jerry Jones has read the headlines, apparently.

It will never come as a surprise that the owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys has something to say.

But on Tuesday morning, as his team kicked off another training camp in Southern California, Jones had a to-do list, namely some of the major storylines that have carried the Cowboys through a memorable season.

Mike McCarthy’s job security a question heading into the Cowboys’ season

Mike McCarthy's job security a question heading into the Cowboys' season

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy was asked about his job security on the team’s first day of training camp. Hear what Colin Cowherd had to say about McCarthy’s future and how it could be affected by Dallas’ early schedule.

“I haven’t spoken to you for a long time – I have some things stored here,” said Jones.

Chief among those concerns was the status of head coach Mike McCarthy. Heading into Year 3 of his tenure and after a disappointing playoff exit last year, speculation has swirled around McCarthy all season that he could be coaching for his job in 2022.

The topic clearly struck a nerve with Jones, who spent the first few minutes of this introductory press conference supporting his coach’s job security.

“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 a Super Bowl — he wouldn’t be,” Jones said. “And I have choices.”

That last part is why we got here in the first place. McCarthy’s status was called into question way back in January when Jones, still seething from a loss to San Francisco, declined to comment on the future of his coaching staff. He would later go on to clarify that his lack of transparency was a ploy to help keep Dan Quinn surfaces as defensive coordinator.

It’s a goal Jones managed to accomplish, though not without thrusting McCarthy’s future — not to mention Quinn’s — into the news cycle. And all of this happened before Sean Payton’s retirement from the New Orleans Saints, ensuring that the longtime coach’s name will forever be associated with his former employers in Dallas.

Apparently, Jones has noticed.

“You guys wrote about a lot of these choices, and they were there for me to use if I wanted,” he said. “And, no, the guy on my right is the one I’m convicted of. (I) was.”

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McCarthy was not happy with reporters asking about his job status at a recent media session. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe react to McCarthy’s comments.

As the Cowboys’ pulling power has taught us before, that doesn’t necessarily mean the conversation will go away. At the very least, it can be a welcome feeling for the coach.

“It’s a big challenge being a Dallas Cowboy,” McCarthy said. “I think now, being more attuned to that, my day-to-day focus is what impacts profit, and that’s where I put my energy and time into it. We understand the narratives, that’s part of the job, and that’s about as far as it goes with me.”

McCarthy joked Tuesday morning that the introductory press conference was Jones’ time to shine. He wasn’t wrong.

In addressing the coaching speculation, Jones also made sure to touch on the Cowboys’ personnel losses this offseason.

Conventional wisdom places Dallas’ roster a notch below last season’s team, largely due to the loss of three veterans in Amari Cooper, La’el Collins and Randy Gregory. And while Jones didn’t name any of those three names, it was clear who he was talking about when he said his team had good reason to let those veterans go.

“More importantly than anything, these decisions that we made – I made – about key players not being here had everything to do with their availability and my concern for their availability,” he said.

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Point taken. Collins missed the entire 2020 season with a hamstring injury and was also suspended for five weeks last season, while Gregory’s history of NFL suspensions has forced him to miss dozens of games over the years.

Cooper missed just two games during his time with the Cowboys, but that absence was the result of contracting COVID-19 last fall — a fact that clearly weighed on team officials, as Cooper was unvaccinated.

“Those players were in our top 10 highest paid players,” Jones said. “When you get to that place, I can tell you that your standards go up. Your bar is higher. Your demeanor is higher. Your focus on the team is higher — not just your performance, but everything.”

In their place, the Cowboys have lined up a long list of promising but unproven players.

COO Stephen Jones listed names like CeeDee Lamb as well as rookies Tyler Smith and Sam Williams when talking about ways they could see their roster improve.

Before he finished speaking his mind, Jerry Jones said his team is better positioned than it was last summer, ahead of a run to a 12-5 record and an NFC East title.

“I think we’re in better shape today to make it than when we were sitting here at this time last year,” he said.

Clearly, the Cowboys are tired of reading other people’s stories. Now, it’s time to see if theirs can last.

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports, providing daily insight and analysis on the NFL’s most notable franchise. Prior to joining FOX, David spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website, DallasCowboys.com. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in the production of “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State.


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