Dec 30, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Dallas Cowboys former head coach Jimmy Johnson celebrates with former players Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith after being inducted into the ring of honor at halftime of the game against the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Emmitt Smith on Cowboys: ‘No one wants to fight hard anymore’

Emmitt Smith played a significant role in helping the Dallas Cowboys win their last three Super Bowl titles but that doesn’t mean the Hall of Fame running back won’t criticize his former team — and notably owner Jerry Jones.

Smith, in fact, didn’t hold back on Friday during his interview with Pro Football Talk Live.

Smith, 54, was asked if he was surprised Jones didn’t fire head coach Mike McCarthy after the Cowboys’ 48-32 loss to the visiting Green Bay Packers on Jan. 14 in the NFC wild-card round.

“I was completely surprised,” Emmitt said. “I know how disappointed I was as a player to see that product put on the football field. It is not becoming of the Dallas Cowboys’ mystique, respect, the brand. It is not the appropriate representation of the brand itself.

“Now, Jerry understands these kind of words. The brand, right? The star. Everything has to be pristine, but this was not that. That right there was so disappointing not only to me, but to many of our fans and including people that was like, ‘What is that?’ It wasn’t a good look.”

Smith kept his foot on the gas when asked what he felt was missing from the team.

“Nobody wants to fight no more,” Smith said. “No one wants to fight hard anymore. They wanna (say), ‘Oh, we are the Cowboys. Tell me how good I am. Check out my Instagram posts. See me on my podcast? I’m doing all this stuff. I’m everything.’ Without doing anything.

“And everybody’s patting them on the back without doing anything. People wanna give them so much without doing nothing. And what they’re living off of is what happened in the past, not what’s going down right now. They’re not establishing their own legacy, let alone building off of the legacy that was established.”

McCarthy, 60, owns a 167-102-2 coaching record with the Green Bay Packers (2006-2018) and Cowboys, including a 42-25 mark during his four seasons in Dallas. He helped the former win the Super Bowl during the 2010 season but has yet to do the same for the Cowboys.

–Field Level Media

Jan 31, 2021; Honolulu, Hawaii, USA; Team Kai head coach Rex Ryan reacts on the field during the first half against Team Aina at the Hula Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Rex Ryan interviews for Cowboys’ DC job

Rex Ryan has joined the list of former NFL head coaches to interview for the defensive coordinator position with the Dallas Cowboys, CBS Sports reported Wednesday.

Currently an ESPN analyst, Ryan had a 61-66 record as head coach of the New York Jets (2009-14) and Buffalo Bills (2015-16).

Former Washington Commanders and Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer reportedly also are among the candidates for the position, as is Dallas defensive line coach Aden Durde.

Ryan, 61, was the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens (2005-08) before being hired by the Jets.

Dan Quinn, the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator the past three seasons, replaced Rivera as the head coach in Washington.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2022; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys DC Dan Quinn has four HC interviews this week

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will interview this week for the available head coaching position with four NFL teams, Sports Illustrated reported Monday.

Quinn, 53, reportedly is expected to conduct interviews via Zoom with the Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans on Wednesday, the Washington Commanders on Thursday and the Los Angeles Chargers on Friday.

Quinn’s season ended Sunday when the second-seeded Cowboys lost 48-32 to the seventh-seeeded Green Bay Packers in an NFC wild-card game.

Dallas finished the regular season ranked fifth in the NFL in scoring defense (18.5 points per game) and total defense (299.7 yards per game). The Cowboys also tied for fifth with 26 takeaways.

Quinn had interviews with the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts last January before announcing he’d be staying in Dallas to address “unfinished business.”

Quinn went 43-42 in five-plus seasons as Atlanta’s head coach and guided the Falcons to the Super Bowl following the 2016 season. Atlanta blew a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl and lost 34-28 in overtime to the New England Patriots.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick’s next team? Cowboys not favorites

Dallas crashing out of the first round of the playoffs in a lopsided loss at home to Green Bay on Sunday night stoked the embers on rumors that Bill Belichick could patrol the Cowboys’ sideline in 2024.

Cowboys fans hoping that the six-time Super Bowl champion head coach will supplant Mike McCarthy might want to tap the breaks on any heightened expectations.

BetMGM released odds Monday on where Belichick will be coaching in Week 1 of the 2024 season, and Dallas was not among the eight teams being offered.

The list is led by a team that might surprise many.

The Atlanta Falcons fired Arthur Smith shortly after completing their third consecutive 7-10 season last week. They also have significant quarterback questions after Desmond Ridder twice failed to secure his spot as the Falcons’ signal-caller of the future.

That would appear to be a big detraction for Belichick, who has watched New England’s offense nosedive since the departure of Tom Brady. That included waffling between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe this season.

However, the Falcons do have several intriguing young skill-position players and a solid defense. Atlanta is also in an NFC South division that lacks an intimidating force, and the ability to take the reins of a team primed to be a divisional contender could pique the interest of the 71-year-old Belichick.

Atlanta Falcons (+200)
Los Angeles Chargers (+400)
Washington Commanders (+600)
Tennessee Titans (+800)
Carolina Panthers (+1800)
New York Giants (+2500)
New Orleans Saints (+3000)
New York Jets (+5000)
No Team/Not Coaching (+125)
Any Other NFL Team (+900)

The Chargers boast exactly what the Falcons lack — a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. However, they’re also coming off a last-place finish in a division dominated by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Is Los Angeles a desirable location for Belichick? In addition to playing second fiddle in their own stadium, the Chargers have significant salary cap issues to tackle this offseason.

Washington is another intriguing possibility as it would allow Belichick to remain on the East Coast. A big question could be what Belichick sees in second-year quarterback Sam Howell and a defense that traded two of its best players midseason.

Of note is that BetMGM’s list includes three teams that currently have head coaches in the Giants (Brian Daboll), Saints (Dennis Allen) and Jets (Robert Saleh). The Jets have said that Saleh will return next season, but would that change if landing Belichick is in play?

The market does not include specific odds on the Cowboys, who are lumped in the “any other NFL team” category at +900.

“I don’t have any thoughts about the reasons why, or anything to do with the coaching, or the players,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters after Sunday’s game.

–Field Level Media

Jan 7, 2024; Landover, Maryland, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones walks off the field after warmups prior to the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones ‘floored’ by loss, declines comment on McCarthy’s future

What once seemed like a potentially promising playoff run came to a screeching halt for the Cowboys on Sunday, as Dallas was blasted 48-32 by the visiting Green Bay Packers in an NFC wild-card game.

The Cowboys had won seven of their final nine games of the regular season to finish the campaign 12-5 before suffering Sunday’s setback, which Dallas owner Jerry Jones considered “one of the biggest surprises” he’d ever seen on a football field.

“This seems like the most painful (loss) because we all had such great expectations and we had hopes for this team and thought that we were aligned and in great shape,” Jones told reporters following the game.

Jones, 81, was “floored” by the Cowboys’ performance, but he didn’t dive into individual critiques or comment on the job status of coach Mike McCarthy.

“I don’t have any thoughts about the reasons why, or anything to do with the coaching, or the players,” Jones said.

Last week, McCarthy told the Fort Worth Star Telegram that Dallas had “a lot of football left.” Now, the once-second-seeded Cowboys are focused on the offseason after failing to rally from a 27-0 deficit against the No. 7 Packers.

Dallas has gone 42-25 in the regular season under McCarthy, who has been at the helm since 2020. The Cowboys are 1-3 in the postseason in that span.

Green Bay will face the top-seeded San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline as they take on the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys’ lopsided loss stokes Bill Belichick rumors

Dallas owner Jerry Jones said he was “floored” by the Cowboys’ lopsided loss at home to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, and declined comment on the future of head coach Mike McCarthy.

That didn’t prevent oddsmakers from installing odds on who his successor might be.

The Cowboys are the first team in NFL history to win 12 games in three consecutive regular seasons but fail to reach a conference championship game in any of the three, according to ESPN. That will no doubt have Jones seriously evaluating the future of McCarthy, his staff and the organization as a whole.

“I don’t have any thoughts about the reasons why, or anything to do with the coaching, or the players,” Jones told reporters after the game.”

If Jones decides to move on from McCarthy, has installed Bill Belichick as the odds-on favorite to replace him.

Belichick, who won six Super Bowl titles during his 24 years in New England, parted ways with the franchise last week. On the surface, he would appear to be an awkward match with Jones, who is known for his heavy hand over the franchise.

But the two do have a singular focus on winning titles at this juncture. And at 71 years old, Belichick may be intrigued by a team with a proven playoff roster that has struggled to find postseason success.

The book is offering odds on 30 potential candidates, ranging from legitimate names such as former Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel and current Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, all the way down to former Cowboys legends and even Jones himself.

Cowboys Next Head Coach Odds*
Bill Belichick (1/2)
Mike Vrabel (3/1)
Bobby Slowik (7/1)
Dan Quinn (8/1)
Jim Harbaugh (8/1)
Ben Johnson (9/1)
Kellen Moore (12/1)
Pete Carroll (14/1)
Mike MacDonald (20/1)
Todd Monken (20/1)
Aaron Glenn (33/1)
Antonio Pierce (33/1)
Brian Callahan (33/1)
Deion Sanders (33/1)
Eric Bienemy (33/1)
Frank Smith (33/1)
Mike Kafka (33/1)
Steve Wilks (33/1)
Brian Flores (40/1)
Jim Schwartz (40/1)
Mike LaFleur (40/1)
Raheem Morris (40/1)
Tony Romo (40/1)
Nick Saban (50/1)
Ron Rivera (50/1)
Steve Sarkisian (50/1)
Dave Canales (66/1)
Patrick Graham (66/1)
Jimmy Johnson (100/1)
Jerry Jones (1000/1)
*If not Mike McCarthy

If McCarthy is fired, it will be interesting to see Jones’ next direction. Does he prefer an established NFL head coach to push the Cowboys over the top, or an emerging coordinator who might usher in an entirely new era in Dallas?

Quinn has long been a favorite of Jones’, but the 48 points allowed on Sunday were the most in franchise history in a playoff game. It may impact Quinn’s status of being on the short list for several of the six current NFL head coaching vacanices.

McCarthy was 6-10 in his first season in Dallas in 2020, a season in which quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury in Week 5. Each of the past three seasons have ended with 12-5 records, but McCarthy is just 1-3 in playoff games with the Cowboys.

“This seems like the most painful (loss) because we all had such great expectations, and we had hopes for this team and thought that we were aligned and in great shape,” Jones said on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Jan 14, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) reacts with wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks (13) after a touchdown catch in the first half of the 2024 NFC wild card game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Jones, Jordan Love lead Packers to rout of the Cowboys

Aaron Jones rushed for 118 yards and three touchdowns, and the Green Bay Packers stormed to a 48-32 win over the host Dallas Cowboys in an NFC wild-card playoff game Sunday afternoon.

Jordan Love completed 16 of 21 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns to win his first career playoff start for Green Bay. Romeo Doubs caught six passes for 151 yards and a touchdown, and Darnell Savage had a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Dak Prescott completed 41 of 60 passes for 403 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for Dallas. Jake Ferguson caught all three touchdown passes for the Cowboys, who were bounced out of the wild-card round for the second time in the past three seasons.

Green Bay tied a team record for most points scored in a playoff game. The Packers also scored 48 against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC divisional round in the 2010 season.

The Packers jumped to a 27-0 lead to stun a Dallas crowd that included Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who shook his head as he watched from his private suite.

Jones opened the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter.

In the first minute of the second quarter, Jones scored again, this time on a 1-yard run.

Love connected with Dontayvion Wicks for a 20-yard touchdown with 3:23 to go in the first half.

Down by 20, Prescott tried to force a pass to CeeDee Lamb to give the Cowboys a spark. Savage followed Prescott’s eyes and stepped in front of Lamb for a pick-6 to make it 27-0.

Dallas got on the scoreboard on the final play of the first half. Prescott rolled right and hit Ferguson for a 1-yard touchdown.

The Cowboys pulled within 27-10 on the opening drive of the second half when Brandon Aubrey made a 34-yard field goal.

The Packers quickly responded with Jones’ third rushing touchdown of the game. His 9-yard run increased the Packers’ lead to 34-10.

Tony Pollard pulled the Cowboys within 34-17 on a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:03 left in the third quarter.

Green Bay needed only 96 seconds to answer. Love found a wide-open Luke Musgrave, who powered into the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown.

Doubs caught a 3-yard touchdown pass – Love’s third – early in the fourth quarter.

Ferguson had a 7-yard touchdown reception with 5:54 remaining.

Prescott connected with Ferguson from 14 yards out for a third and final touchdown reception with 3:25 to go.

–Field Level Media

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff waves during pregame warmups before the start of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024.

Lions ready to roar in reunion with Matthew Stafford, Rams

Matthew Stafford returns to Detroit in a Los Angeles Rams uniform. Jared Goff faces the team that gave up on him. The Lions are hosting a playoff game for the first time in 30 years.

The preamble to Sunday night’s first-round playoff matchup has all the fixings of a script, but neither team wants to discuss much more than the primetime wild-card meeting and the spot in the conference semifinals at stake.

The Rams are two seasons removed from winning a Super Bowl with Stafford after the Lions traded him for Goff and several high draft picks.

Lions fans were generally thrilled to see Stafford reach the mountaintop. Now, they’ll be rooting hard for his season to end.

“I understand what the people of Detroit, what the city of Detroit, meant to me in my time and my career. What they meant to my family. I hope they feel that back,” Stafford said. “But at the same time I’m not a stranger to the situation and understanding I’m the bad guy coming to town.”

The “bad guys” have been rolling along since their bye week.

The Rams (10-7) have won seven of their last eight games, with the lone loss coming in overtime to AFC top seed Baltimore.

With a playoff berth secured, coach Sean McVay rested Stafford and numerous regulars in the regular season finale. Stafford still finished with 3,965 passing yards and 24 touchdowns.

Rookie Puca Nucua (105 receptions, 1,486 yards and six touchdowns) and Cooper Kupp (59 receptions, 737 yards, 5 TDs in 12 games) provide formidable targets for Stafford.

“He’s put our team in a position to go play a meaningful game,” McVay said.

Running back Kyren Williams gives the offense balance. He racked up 1,350 combined rushing and receiving yards and scored 15 touchdowns despite missing five games.

Goff piled up 4,575 passing yards and 30 touchdowns while leading the Lions (12-5) to the NFC North title. He’s got a star wideout in Amon-Ra St. Brown (119 receptions, 1,515 yards, 10 TDs) supported by the running back duo of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs.

Goff admits he had his differences with McVay in his final season with the Rams but is focused on taking the Lions franchise to new heights. That includes earning a playoff win that Stafford never recorded with the Lions.

“I so badly want to win a playoff game for this city, that hasn’t had one in so long,” Goff said. “That’s so much more important than anything personally for me.”

The Lions have played well in primetime games this season, so coach Dan Campbell isn’t concerned about the team feeling the pressure.

“I’m not worried about that — the stage, all of those things, because we’ve dealt with that for a while now. I feel like we’re prepared for that,” he said.

Campbell also expects Goff to remain calm and poised.

“He’s wired the right way,” he said. “He’s been through this. He’s been to the Big One. He’s dealt with this a number of times.”

Campbell is concerned that his players might try to do too much, instead of focusing on their assignments.

“You want to make a play so bad, you jump out of your gap,” he said. “All of a sudden, they hit you on a run.”

The big injury concern is Lions tight end Sam LaPorta, who suffered a hyperextended knee in the regular season finale against Minnesota.

Campbell said LaPorta, who set an NFL rookie tight end record with 86 receptions, was “improving” but isn’t sure whether he’ll suit up. Wide receiver and kick returner Kalif Raymond is also dealing with a knee injury.

–Field Level Media

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) participates in warmups prior to the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Perfect at home, Cowboys cite comfort of playoff spot against Packers

Quarterback Dak Prescott and the NFL’s highest-scoring offense enter the playoffs with a confidence that can only be found at home.

The Cowboys host the Green Bay Packers in a wild-card matchup Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium, where Dallas had a perfect 8-0 record during the regular season.

Dallas averaged a league-high 29.9 points per game, posted a 12-5 record and won the NFC East for the second time in three years.

Prescott threw 36 touchdown passes, which led the NFL. CeeDee Lamb caught a league-high 135 passes for 1,749 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.

The statistics are impressive, but the Cowboys want something bigger: playoff success.

“Obviously, there’s going to be a sense of urgency because there’s no tomorrow, because it’s win-or-go-home every single week,” Cowboys wideout Brandin Cooks said. “At the end of the day, we’re looking at a great team (in the Packers) that has been playing at a high level to finish this season.

“As far as pressure (goes), no, because we know what’s in front of us. It’s playoff ball. That’s the best of everyone’s ball. We’ve just got to show up and continue to be who we are without putting more on ourselves than we need to. … We’ve just got to take care of business.”

Green Bay travels to Texas in an underdog role, but not without an air of confidence. The Packers, who have one of the NFL’s youngest rosters, won their last three games and six of their final eight with multiple strong showings from quarterback Jordan Love as running back Aaron Jones finally looked healthy.

Love threw 32 touchdown passes, which trailed only Prescott. He took control in his final eight starts as he threw for 18 touchdowns with only one interception.

“Everybody looks to him as a leader,” said guard Jon Runyan of Love’s development. “He’s got complete control of this offense, and what he does. We trust him, and you’re able to see it on the field.

Rookie wideout Jayden Reed led the team with 912 yards from scrimmage (793 receiving, 119 rushing) and 10 touchdowns (eight receiving, two rushing). Jones added 889 yards from scrimmage (656 rushing, 233 receiving) and three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).

Packers coach Matt LaFleur said his team is playing as if it has nothing to lose.

“I think for us it’s just the opportunity to be in the dance and have a great week of preparation and put our best foot forward,” LaFleur said. “I think we’ve been going through this the last few weeks. We knew what was at stake. I mean, the last three weeks basically have been playoff games for us. So, really, it’s the next opportunity.”

On the opposite sideline, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy will have a chance to make history against his former team. McCarthy won a Super Bowl as the Packers coach during the 2010 season, and he can become the first person to win a playoff game against a team with which he won the Super Bowl as head coach.

McCarthy deflected questions about his tenure in Green Bay and what the game meant to him.

“This game’s about our commitment,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”

Both teams had one injured player sit out the first practice of the week. Packers running back A.J. Dillon was sidelined by thumb and neck injuries, and Cowboys cornerback Stephon Gilmore sat out because of a shoulder injury. Gilmore said he’s confident he’ll be on the field Sunday.

The teams’ most recent matchup was Nov. 13, 2022, when Green Bay held on for a 31-28 win. This is their first playoff meeting since Jan. 15, 2017, when Green Bay won 34-31 in Dallas.

–Field Level Media

Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones (left) chats with right-hand man and Dallas vice president of player personnel Will McClay, who has been with the team more than two decades. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Will McStay? Cowboys’ VP of personnel in high demand

Dallas Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay stands as one of the most coveted talent evaluators in the league and could be drawn to one of the current openings this offseason.

Outside interest is nothing new for McClay, who is entering his 22nd year with the Cowboys’ organization, because of his reputation for identifying talent. What might not be a typical resume line in most professions has drawn the Dallas personnel man great praise and respect in NFL circles. His voice is the one demonstrative Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones listens to on most draft and free agency decisions.

But the Cowboys’ general manager title also belongs to Jones, while McClay began overseeing the draft in 2014.

The Carolina Panthers and Washington Commanders are trying to squeeze to the front of the line to discuss jobs with McClay. The Commanders are waving significant authority, which could include the title of executive vice president. With the Cowboys, that title belongs to Jones’ son, Stephen.

Dallas was able to block the exits in recent years to keep McClay. Two years ago, in January 2022, he signed a new contract and celebrated his 20-year anniversary with the team with Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy admitting they were doing everything in their power to prevent other franchises from swiping McClay.

“He’s obviously someone that I know as an organization we would not want to lose,” McCarthy said at the time. “But he’s definitely worthy of any opportunity that pursues him. Will does a tremendous job.”

McClay has gone as far as interviewing outside the building for openings but repeatedly found his way back to the Dallas front office, where he was first hired as a scout in 2002.

McClay’s legend at The Star is massive with coaches and players alike. He was known to keep the loudest drumbeat in the room for some of the team’s biggest hits in the draft, including 2020 second-round pick Trevon Diggs (51st overall with a first-round grade from McClay) and 2022 fifth-round pick DaRon Bland at the position McClay said is the most difficult to evaluate outside of quarterback — cornerback.

He should know.

McClay played quarterback in high school in Houston, winning three state titles, and even with more prestigious offers on the table from the likes of Nebraska and Boston College, he chose family. He was recruited to Rice by former Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, and he ultimately settled there to allow his parents to attend his games. And he switched to defensive back.

Where McClay, 57, winds up for the 2024 season and beyond likely doesn’t rest on salary, title or the perception of control such as “final say” on the roster.

During the post-draft press conference at The Star last April, McClay said his values are faith, family — McClay has a teenage son — and football.

“Titles don’t mean anything to me,” McClay said. “Really, the responsibility, it’s the place that you work, it’s the people you’re around. It’s what you’re trying to accomplish that’s the most important thing. You talk about a title, a lot of people got titles and don’t mean anything.”

With the Cowboys, Jerry Jones holds the general manager title, but McClay’s sway in the scouting department is unquestioned. Being named GM hasn’t been an option in Dallas for McClay. Even so, it’s unlikely given his comments on the structure that Jerry Jones or executive VP Stephen Jones has much interest in forfeiting their titles. In 2014, Jerry Jones said the only situation in which he would hire a GM would be “If I for sure knew he would win a Super Bowl.”

“My thoughts have always been: I’ll have people around me that are as close to being competent, have Super Bowl type ideas and can get you to that,” Jones said at the time. “I’ll have them and I’ll listen. And I have and I have listened all the time. But I don’t want to create some fake point.”

–Field Level Media