Less than a week after a disappointing playoff exit for the Dallas Cowboys, club owner Jerry Jones isn't rubber-stamping the return of coach Mike McCarthy just yet.
The Cowboys' 12-5 regular season and NFC East title were laid to waste last weekend in a stinging home loss to the San Francisco 49ers, 23-17, that made for a very brief postseason for a collection of talent with higher potential and aspirations. It's apparently not sitting well with the team's outspoken owner.
"I've got a lot to think about regarding these coaches," Jones said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
While making it clear he's unhappy with the performance of the coaching staff, Jones also said he wouldn't delve into specifics about his conversations with McCarthy or anyone else about the head coach's future.
"I won't get in to any conversations that I've had with anybody relative to anything to do with staff," Jones said.
Jones remarks stand somewhat in contrast to Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones' portrayal of McCarthy's status. Jerry's son told 103.5 The Fan on Monday that he is very confident that McCarthy will coach the team in 2022. McCarthy himself said on Wednesday that his conversations with Jones since the loss have been very positive.
The Cowboys delivered a remarkable regular-season turnaround from 2020, when they finished 6-10 after losing star quarterback Dak Prescott to a season-ending injury, to this year's 12-5 mark. Losing at home in the Wild Card Round clearly left a bitter taste in the elder Jones' mouth, however. The clock expired on the Cowboys' season when the offense was unable to re-set for a spike after a designed draw play by Prescott which put the ball on the 49ers 24-yard line. Jones and his team will never know what might've come of one more pass to the end zone, but a far more tangible cause for the loss was the team's playoff-record-tying 14 penalties in the game. Jones lamented those miscues, and took exception to McCarthy's comments that playing penalty-free football would be an offseason priority.
"I don't go for that," Jones said. "I have been trying to push that. I want those things recognized and addressed after the first game. Or after we played the sixth game. I don't want to wait until after we are sitting here with no season left to address the things we are doing or not doing. ... You got to adjust (to penalties) or you don't have a job."
Jones is a demanding owner if ever there was one, but it's also reasonable to want maximized results from a deep and talented roster that seemingly has every necessary personnel component for a championship team. A first-round playoff loss doesn't fit that description. McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl as coach of the Green Bay Packers in 2010, is tasked with winning another with a Cowboys franchise that carries the highest of expectations.
Yet after going 12-5 in just his second season, it's not altogether clear if he'll get that chance.