The announcement came Monday morning, less than 24 hours after the Cowboys officially fired Jason Garrett. And although Garrett posted a winning record in Dallas (85-67), I have no doubt McCarthy will take this group to new heights based on his track record in Green Bay. I played under McCarthy for eight of his 13 years in Green Bay, when we made the playoffs seven times, ranked top-10 in scoring seven times and won a Super Bowl. During his entire tenure, McCarthy accrued a 125-77-2 record as head coach and coached quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a pair of regular-season MVP awards.
Assuming the Cowboys' offensive lineup looks the same in 2020, which would require the team re-signing Amari Cooper and obviously Dak Prescott this offseason, it is as talented as (if not more talented than) our dominant Packers offenses were during our deep playoff runs in the early 2010s, with two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott running behind a great offensive line. The sky is the limit for this unit under McCarthy's direction, and it all starts with the main reason why I believe he was hired:
McCarthy is the best person to develop Prescott.
The young quarterback is fresh off his most prolific season, having completed 65.1 percent of his passes for 4,902 yards (second in the NFL), 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, equaling a 99.7 passer rating. He is next in line for a second contract this offseason, which is why the McCarthy-Prescott marriage is the most important relationship for the next decade of Cowboys football. There's a lot weighing on this pairing, but I believe McCarthy's offense will be a game-changer for Dak and the Dallas offense.
McCarthy's up-tempo offense is very quarterback/receiver-friendly because it limits defenses from being creative and disguising different their looks. According to Pro Football Focus, the Packers used no-huddle on 20.7 percent of their plays from 2014 through 2018 under McCarthy -- the third-highest rate in the league during this span. With Prescott as the starting quarterback since 2016, the Cowboys have used no-huddle on just nine percent of plays.
McCarthy's up-tempo approach will simplify things for Prescott, as defenses will be forced to play just two or three coverages (Cover 2, Cover 3 or man coverage) at most. Prescott will constantly have open receivers, with Zeke demanding attention in the backfield and his receivers (a group that includes 2019 breakout stud Michael Gallup) often facing man-to-man coverage. Prescott will also have more control at the line of scrimmage with the freedom to check certain plays or signal receivers to run certain routes pre-snap, making it extremely tough on defenses. Prescott's inconsistencies across the board -- from decision-making to throwing accuracy to executing the offense with confidence -- should improve in this attack.
This offense can really take off under McCarthy's leadership. I have nothing but respect for the man as a coach and person. He's a player's coach -- he communicates well and is a proven winner. Some will bring up the "beef" he and Rodgers reportedly had at the end of McCarthy's run in Green Bay, but to be honest, those two had a great relationship, which was a big reason for the team's consistent success. When I talked with Rodgers after McCarthy was fired last season, my former quarterback was disappointed and knew the firing wasn't based on McCarthy's poor coaching but a lack of execution by the team.
McCarthy will do wonders for a Dallas team that's searching for answers. Winning is what McCarthy does, especially at AT&T Stadium. (Remember where Super Bowl XLV was played?) But that's not enough. In a recent interview with my colleague Tom Pelissero, McCarthy said, "I'm not trying to just go win one, I'm trying to win them all."