Jan 13, 2024; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy speaks during the national championship celebration at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024. Mandatory Credit: Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy touts ‘Everything you want in starting QB’

INDIANAPOLIS — Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy makes no apologies about his statistics falling short in a tale of the tape with the top-ranked passers in the 2024 NFL Draft, but he’s ready to talk wins and losses.

McCarthy exited Ann Arbor in January on the heels of a national title win over Washington and has lost only three games — one with the Wolverines compared to 27 victories — since he began his high school football career (34-2 as a starter).

So what would an NFL team be getting if they went with McCarthy over the past two Heisman Trophy winners — Caleb Williams of USC and Jayden Daniels of LSU?

“I would say, tough, gritty guy who only cares about winning at the end of the day,” McCarthy said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Loves the game of football with a burning passion, loves his teammates. Just pretty much everything you’d want in starting quarterback.”

Meetings with multiple teams with a need at the position dominated the past two nights for McCarthy. He said he had formal interviews with the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants, among others.

“I just let them know who I am. That’s something that a lot of people don’t know, and it’s not just putting it on a front.” McCarthy said. “I want them to actually understand that I truly love the game of football, I truly love my teammates and want to do nothing but win football games.”

McCarthy plans to throw in Saturday’s on-field session for quarterbacks, when participation will otherwise be sparse. Williams, Daniels and North Carolina’s Drake Maye all have opted out of the passing session.

Because of hamstring tightness, McCarthy will not run the 40 or do the vertical or broad jump at the combine.

Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson expects McCarthy to open a lot of eyes, even in a limited workout.

“I think a lot of people like to say like he can’t throw. I feel like he’s an unbelievable quarterback,” Wilson said. “You guys are going to see at pro day or even here, his arm talent is through the roof. He’s one of the better quarterbacks in this draft.”

–Field Level Media

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates after the 34-13 win over Washington to win the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

Big names added to NFL draft-eligible list

Caleb Williams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, national championship-winning QB J.J. McCarthy, and All-American wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. were among 20 additional players granted special eligibility on Friday for the 2024 NFL Draft.

In all, 54 players have received special eligibility, with 34 previously announced. That group applied prior to the early “soft” deadline of Jan. 5, with these others submitting their requests for eligibility prior to the traditional Jan. 15 deadline.

Each of the 20 players approved Friday have met the NFL’s three-year eligibility rule and renounced their rights to college. An additional three players were granted eligibility after notifying the NFL that they had fulfilled degree requirements.

The additional players eligible to be selected in the 2024 NFL Draft, to be held April 25-27 in Detroit, are:

Quarterbacks: J.J. McCarthy, Michigan; Caleb Williams, Southern California
Defensive backs: Terrion Arnold, Alabama; Calen Bullock, USC; Cooper DeJean, Iowa; Jaden Hicks, Washington State; Kamren Kinchens, Miami; Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama
Tight ends: Brock Bowers, Georgia; Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas
Running backs: Jonathon Brooks, Texas; Jaden Shirden, Monmouth
Wide receivers: Arland Bruce, Oklahoma State; Marvin Harrison, Ohio State; Adonai Mitchell, Texas; Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington
Linebackers: Junior Colson, Michigan, Jeremiah Trotter, Clemson; Dallas Turner, Alabama
Defensive tackles: Michael Hall, Ohio State; Maason Smith, LSU; Byron Murphy, Texas
Offensive tackles: J.C. Latham, Alabama; Roger Rosengarten, Washington

–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, SportsBetting.ag 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

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) watches a play from the sideline during the second half of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy: Ohio State sign-stealing since 2019

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy voiced frustration with the ongoing sign-stealing narrative around the No. 1-ranked Wolverines ahead of the College Football Playoff national championship on Monday night.

McCarthy claimed Michigan used legal means only to study and understand opponents’ hand signals and their correlated play calls only after learning Ohio State had ripped off signs from the Wolverines.

“About 80 percent of teams in college football steal signs,” he said. “We actually had to adapt because in 2019, 2020, Ohio State was stealing our signs. Which is legal. We had to get up to the level they were at and make it an even playing field.”

Michigan (14-0) advanced to the CFP title game in Houston with an overtime win in the Rose Bowl, stopping Alabama inside the 5-yard line to secure a shot at the championship in a season otherwise defined by distraction.

McCarthy said he’s not spending another ounce of energy defending Michigan or talking about his NFL future.

“All I really care about is winning football games,” he said.

McCarthy spent time before the Rose Bowl as he does every game, shoeless, still and meditating with his back against one goalpost staring across the distance of the field to the other goalpost. He said he captured a few more minutes postgame on New Year’s Day, reflecting on what it took to be in that moment with Michigan.

“The extra work, all the different things that I did this past offseason and this season, just reflecting back on those and how hard I pushed myself,” McCarthy said of where his mind went during the quiet minute postgame. “Training seven or eight times per week. Going to an extra trainer and throwing up every single time I was there.

“I’d do it all over again if I had the choice.”

With a nod to Tom Brady, head coach and former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh said this week that McCarthy is the best Wolverines QB in program history.

“I’ve said it before, this is the greatest quarterback in the University of Michigan college football history,” Harbaugh said. “Got a long way to go to get to where Tom Brady eventually got to, which is the G.O.A.T., he’s lapped the field when it comes to that. But in a college career, there’s been nobody at Michigan better than J.J. We talk about an amalgamation of quarterbacks — he’s that guy.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Mike McCarthy back to work, ‘business as usual’ for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy returned to work and expects no limitations following surgery Wednesday for acute appendicitis.

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn ran meetings and filled the typical duties of McCarthy while he was hospitalized.

“There’s no change in anything he’s gonna be doing (on gameday). We’ll be business as usual,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday on 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas.

McCarthy, 60, experienced abdominal pain Wednesday morning, prompting a consultation with the team’s medical staff. Quinn said he walked into McCarthy’s office and he looked pale and uncomfortable.

Jones said McCarthy returned to the facility on Friday morning and is planning to guide the Cowboys (9-3) into their matchup against the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) on Sunday night in Arlington, Texas, just as Quinn predicted two days earlier.

“You think that tough Irishman is going to miss this game?” Quinn told reporters Wednesday.

Quinn filled in for McCarthy on one other occasion and served as Cowboys’ head coach at New Orleans when McCarthy was quarantined due to COVID-19.

McCarthy owns a 164-100-2 coaching record with the Green Bay Packers (2006-2018) and Cowboys (2020-present).

–Field Level Media

Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) celebrates after a touchdown against the Michigan State Spartans during second-half action at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023.

J.J. McCarthy noses ahead as Heisman Trophy favorite

Michael Penix Jr.’s perch atop the Heisman Trophy favorites was shortlived — for now, at least.

As we’ve seen in this year’s Heisman Trophy race, the picture can change dramatically from week to week.

Penix emerged as the new favorite following Washington’s win over Oregon on Oct. 14. The Huskies remained undefeated on Saturday, albeit in ugly fashion, in a 17-5 win over one-win Arizona State in which Penix threw two interceptions and no touchdowns.

Earlier in the day, Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw four touchdowns in the Wolverines’ 49-0 dismantling of rival Michigan State.

That was enough to elevate McCarthy to Heisman favorite status at most sportsbooks. McCarthy is +240, ahead of Penix (+320) and LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (+340) at DraftKings. That also includes at BetMGM, where he is now +240 ahead of Penix at +300. Penix does remain third at the book, having been backed by 11.2 percent of the money wagered on the Heisman winner.

It has been a steady rise for McCarthy, who opened as a +2500 longshot and has still drawn just 6.0 percent of the money. However, he has continued to climb throughout the season in which McCarthy has thrown for 18 touchdowns against three interceptions while several other marquee stars have tumbled.

That includes reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, whose quest to join Archie Griffin as the only two-time winners hit a wall with Southern Cal’s consecutive losses to Notre Dame and Utah. Williams, who opened as the +500 favorite to repeat, is now +10000 — tied for 10th at the book.

Williams remains BetMGM’s third biggest liability, following Colorado teammates Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter, whose Heisman stocks have plummeted amid the Buffaloes’ three losses over their past four games. Sanders is now +25000 while Hunter was removed from the board after missing multiple games due to injury.

Others who remain firmly in the Heisman picture included Daniels (+375), Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis (+800) and Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel (+1200). The top non-quarterback is currently Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who is being offered at +2000 along with Oregon quarterback Bo Nix.

Also off the board this week is Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers, who is expected to miss multiple weeks with a shoulder injury.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy stands on the sideline during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

First NFL coach fired? Mike McCarthy, Josh McDaniels among co-favorites

The Dallas Cowboys are nipping at the heels of the Philadelphia Eagles and are considered a potential threat to win the NFC Championship by many oddsmakers.

That’s also the reason Mike McCarthy will open the 2023 season on one of the hottest coaching seats in the NFL.

McCarthy has posted a 30-20 regular-season record through his first three seasons in Dallas. During that time, the Cowboys are also 1-2 in the postseason.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been notoriously patient with his coaches — Jason Garrett’s 10-year run on Dallas’ sideline ahead of McCarthy’s arrival being the prime example. However, former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is a ready-made replacement should the Cowboys stumble out of the gate and Jones decides to make a move.

McCarthy has been installed as one of the three “favorites” to be the first NFL coach fired this season. He is being offered at +600 by SportsBetting.ag along with Las Vegas’ Josh McDaniels and Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles.

FIRST NFL COACH FIRED ODDS
Mike McCarthy, Cowboys (+600)
Josh McDaniels, Raiders (+600)
Todd Bowles, Buccaneers (+600)
Ron Rivera, Commanders (+700)
Dennis Allen, Saints (+900)
Kevin Stefanski, Browns (+900)
Matt Eberflus, Bears (+1400)
Mike Vrabel, Titans (+1400)
Arthur Smith, Falcons (+1600)
Brandon Staley, Chargers (+1600)
Matt LaFleur, Packers (+1600)
Sean McVay, Rams (+1600)
Kevin O’Connell, Vikings (+2200)
Dan Campbell, Lions (+2500)
John Harbaugh, Ravens (+2800)
Mike Tomlin, Steelers (+3300)
Robert Saleh, Jets (+3300)
Jonathan Gannon, Cardinals (+4000)
Mike McDaniel, Dolphins (+5000)
Pete Carroll, Seahawks (+5000)
Doug Pederson, Jaguars (+6600)
Frank Reich, Panthers (+6600)
Sean McDermott, Bills (+6600)
Shane Steichen, Colts (+6600)
DeMeco Ryans, Texans (+7500)
Bill Belichick, Patriots (+10000)
Brian Daboll, Giants (+10000)
Kyle Shanahan, 49ers (+10000)
Nick Sirianni, Eagles (+10000)
Sean Payton, Broncos (+10000)
Zac Taylor, Bengals (+10000)
Andy Reid, Chiefs (+25000)

McDaniels is entering just his second season in Las Vegas, but the pressure has already mounted following a disappointing 6-11 record in 2022. The Raiders moved on from quarterback Derek Carr, and McDaniels has put his eggs into the basket of oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo, with whom he worked in New England from 2014-26.

Bowles also finds himself at the mercy of a murky quarterback situation. After Tom Brady’s retirement, the Bucs signed former No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield, who won a training camp battle over Kyle Trask.

Tampa Bay plays in a lackluster division that includes New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina — three more teams that will begin the season with new starting quarterbacks. But the Bucs are expected to finish last in the NFC South by most books.

Another coach who could be on a short leash is Washington’s Ron Rivera, who has two years remaining on his current contract. The Commanders are coming off a solid 8-8-1 season but are in a very deep division and the team’s new ownership could choose to go in a different direction if the Commanders start poorly under first-year starting quarterback Sam Howell.

Rivera brought in a new offensive coordinator in Eric Bieniemy, and said a contract extension is part of talks he has had with new owner Josh Harris.

“They’ve gone well and they stand in a good situation,” Rivera said recently of his conversations with Harris. “Those are all things that are all part of our discussion. And again, these are things that we talk about, we’re working into.

“There’s a lot to do and to assume anything’s going to happen immediately is unfair because they are still learning and understanding us, and we’re still talking with them and trying to get things lined up and in order.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 22, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy before a NFC divisional round game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy (back) oversees camp virtually

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy oversaw the team’s three-day rookie minicamp on a virtual basis after undergoing a back procedure.

The three-day camp concluded Saturday with on-field work that lasted a bit more than an hour. McCarthy underwent the procedure last week.

“He’s been on Zoom calls with us,” linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, a third-round pick, told reporters Saturday. “We know what he’s going through and that he’s going to be back soon. He’s definitely been there, welcomed us like we were a vet.”

It isn’t known when McCarthy will return to handling his duties in person.

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said everything went well despite the head man not being on scene.

“It’s easy because Mike is always so clear and, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to do,’ so we had a real vision for what we wanted to get accomplished this weekend with these guys,” said Quinn, former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons for five-plus seasons.

“It’s mainly just taking those first steps and I think Mike would agree let’s not miss one step of their development and see what we have and how we communicate and testing them and seeing where we are at.

“And then we’ll begin with Mike and everybody else here this (next) week of merging everybody together. So if there was a time to miss for him, there’s never a time he would feel comfortable but we all know we got his back and we’ll get him back soon.”

Rookies and veterans both take part in the next phase of offseason workouts, beginning Monday. Organized team activities will follow with minicamp slated to be held June 6-8.

Quinn served as Dallas’ head coach for a 27-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints in Week 13 of the 2021 season when McCarthy was sidelined due to a positive test for COVID-19.

McCarthy is entering his fourth season with the Cowboys. He has a 30-20 regular-season record and is 1-2 in the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

Jan 16, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Dallas Cowboys place kicker Brett Maher (19) misses a point after touchdown kick in the first half during the wild card game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mike McCarthy: Cowboys K Brett Maher ‘he needs to practice well’

Tristan Vizcaino was on the field with the Dallas Cowboys at Thursday’s practice, but coach Mike McCarthy said that the kicking insurance policy doesn’t mean the team does not believe in Brett Maher.

Maher missed four straight extra-point attempts in Monday’s 31-14 wild-card win over the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He converted his fifth and final try of the game.

Dallas added Vizcaino to the practice squad on Tuesday. Vizcaino had previous stints with the 49ers, Chargers, Cardinals and Patriots and was briefly on the Cowboys’ offseason roster in 2020.

“It doesn’t take anything away from our trust in Brett,” McCarthy told reporters on Thursday. “I just think it’s part of the responsibility. Player acquisition’s a 365-day (thing), this is nothing out of the normal for us.”

It’s unclear if the Cowboys would consider carrying two kickers on the active roster for Sunday’s divisional round game at the San Francisco 49ers.

“He (Maher) needs to practice well this week,” McCarthy said, adding, “We all need to practice well this week. I better coach well this week.”

Maher might have received the message. According to reporters in clear view of the kicking display at the Cowboys’ practice in Frisco, Texas, Maher went 6-for-6 on field goals and Vizcaino went 3-for-5, including missing his very first kick.

“Whoever lines up here on the 48, I’ll have great confidence,” McCarthy said.

The Cowboys will head west hoping to be the first team to hand San Francisco a loss since Oct. 23. The Niners have won 11 straight games, including seven behind rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, who’s impressed the league after taking over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo.

McCarthy said there’s no point in crunching tape of Purdy’s days at Iowa State.

“He’s got plenty of film now and he’s played at a very high level. … He’s not a rookie anymore in our eyes,” McCarthy said.

“The three things that jumped out to me … is his instincts, his awareness and his confidence. For a young player he definitely looks very confident and comfortable in the system.”

–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 set for playoff-week interview with Broncos

Dan Quinn offers the Denver Broncos a massive mulligan on Friday, two days before he oversees the Dallas Cowboys’ defense in a divisional playoff game at San Francisco.

Quinn was a finalist for the Broncos’ job in 2022, interviewing with Denver before Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was named head coach. Hackett was fired Dec. 26 without completing his first season on the job.

The Cowboys made Quinn one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the NFL last January to help persuade him to return. Owner Jerry Jones didn’t rule out a similar modification to Quinn’s salary for 2023, but the payday wouldn’t compare to what head coaches earn.

“Obviously we think world of Dan Quinn and we all understand the contributions he made and they interviewed him last year, so it doesn’t surprise me they are interviewing him,” Jones said of Quinn meeting with the Broncos.

Quinn might have an edge given his connection to Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson. They were together during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl run before Quinn was hired as head coach of the Falcons.

As for the timing of interviews, the playing field for Sunday’s coaching is relatively even in one respect: Quinn interviews a day after 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is scheduled to meet with the Broncos.

Dallas played Monday night, two days after the 49ers ousted the Seahawks in the wild-card round, and San Francisco has the advantage of homefield and not having to fly roundtrip to Tampa and now California.

But Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said he’s not concerned with Quinn losing focus on the 49ers.

“Dan’s the ultimate professional. And he will not jeopardize for anything the preparation of this game,” McCarthy said.

While not yet scheduled, Quinn is also a candidate to interview with the Indianapolis Colts.

Quinn, 52, was 43-42 as head coach of the Falcons, leading Atlanta to the Super Bowl — where the New England Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit — before being fired after five-plus seasons.

He has served as defensive coordinator of the Cowboys for the past two seasons. Dallas led the NFL in takeaways in 2021 and 2022 and its defense was in the top 10 in points allowed per game each year.

–Field Level Media