Mike McCarthy will be back as coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 2022, and according to club owner Jerry Jones, that's been the plan all along.
Jones told the Dallas Morning News that McCarthy's status was never in question, noting that the two have been working to make sure defensive coordinator Dan Quinn would stay put, as well. Quinn withdrew his name from consideration for coaching jobs with the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings, and according to the News' David Moore, he's received a multi-year contract extension.
It marks quite a turnaround in tone from Jones, whose frustration with McCarthy and his staff was evident in the wake of the team's disappointing first-round exit from the playoffs. The NFC East champions lost at home to the San Francisco 49ers, 23-17. On the last play of the game, the clock expired on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott as he tried to get off a spike to stop the clock after a designed run with no timeouts left.
The game ended with Dallas on the San Francisco 24-yard line, and while the Cowboys' loss was more attributable to a playoff-record-tying 14 penalties than the end-of-game chaos, it nevertheless wasn't a good look for McCarthy, who was already quite familiar with clock-management criticism.
"I've got a lot to think about regarding these coaches," Jones said just a week ago.
Jones was also critical of McCarthy's staff in regard to the Cowboys' penalty woes against the 49ers, but insisted Friday he wasn't considering a change.
"I want to clear up the idea that Mike McCarthy was twisting in the wind," Jones said on 103.5 The Fan radio. "That wasn't the case at all."
Jones said he never gave consideration to replacing McCarthy with Sean Payton, who stepped down as the New Orleans Saints coach this week.
"I understand the speculation. Sean is an outstanding coach. But I haven't talked to him and am not in any way part of his departure there in New Orleans," Jones said, per Moore. "He didn't have any place in anything I'm doing regarding our staff."
As for Quinn, Jones indicated that keeping the defensive coordinator in Dallas was a high priority.
"My goal was to keep the continuity of this group together. We met many times face to face (with) Dan, myself and Mike, to coordinate and talk to him," Jones said, per Moore. "We were very much in a competitive environment because we felt Dan did have the opportunity to be a (head coach)."
McCarthy, who led the Cowboys to a 12-5 regular season record, will enter his third season as Cowboys coach this fall. The expectations that come with coaching Jones' Cowboys aren't going anywhere, and for now, neither is McCarthy.