Mike McCarthy
Mike McCarthy doesn’t understand the identity of the Cowboys. If Dallas doesn’t start to feed Zeke more often, this team is screwed. (Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

A lot of Cowboy fans were happy when Dallas decided to fire Jason Garrett finally. Rightfully so, it’s hard watching your team go 8-8 every year with no playoff wins. Are we sure Mike McCarthy is a better head coach? Thus far, Dallas is 1-2 in the early stages of the 2020 season. If anything is clear, it’s that McCarthy doesn’t understand the identity of the Cowboys.

The formula is not hard to understand, given the way this roster is constructed. Give the ball to Ezekiel Elliott over and over. Keep your average defense on the sidelines as long as possible. The Cowboys only go as far as Elliott takes them. That’s the truth.

That isn’t meant to disparage Dak Prescott, but the fact of the matter is, you’re not winning shootouts with him. In games against Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott isn’t winning those battles. Rodgers is 8-3 against the Cowboys for a reason. Dallas doesn’t have a quarterback to match Rodgers.

Dallas is at their best when they run the ball and play complementary defense. The Cowboys are 35-15 when they give Zeke 15 carries in a game. Seriously, that’s not a joke. 35-15!!! For whatever reason, Dallas purposely shoots themselves in the foot and makes Dak win the game for them instead.

The Cowboys have looked particularly awful in 2020. If not for a fluky onside kick recovery against the Falcons, Dallas is 0-3 right now. McCarthy is the man to blame for this. McCarthy has failed to recognize how this roster wins games. Thus far, Dallas is throwing the ball 66% of the time, which ranks fourth in the NFL. Only Houston, Cincinnati, and New York have higher percentages.

Sure, Kellen Moore is the play-caller, but he was also the play-caller in 2019. Dallas threw 58% of the time last year. It’s clear McCarthy has envisioned a high powered pass attack and wants Moore to implement that philosophy. The former Packers coach better recognize real quick; he doesn’t have Aaron Rodgers anymore. The Cowboys have a different formula.

I get it, having Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup gives any offense an embarrassment of riches. Dak is even putting up a good stat line (even though he’s playing far worse than his numbers indicate). If McCarthy fails to recognize that the way this team wins is through the run game, Dallas is screwed. Feed Zeke. We don’t need more evidence for how Dallas wins football games. Just follow the blueprint.

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