Cowboys could replace Mike McCarthy with Kellen Moore after team fails to meet playoff expectations

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could consider a coaching change if the team fails to meet expectations this season, league sources said, with his top two assistants to head coach Mike McCarthy sparking a stir. serious interest in the head coach of other teams. And the Cowboys fell short, losing to the San Francisco 49ers in the wildcard round, 23-17. Several sources familiar with Jones have indicated that a loss in the wildcard round would inspire Jones to at least consider the direction of the team as coordinators Dan Quinn and Kellen Moore prepare for numerous interviews with head coaches.

Jones has long been a big supporter of Moore and believed early on in the young coach’s ability to shape an offense, work with quarterbacks and call plays. Dak Prescott has done his best with Moore in charge and Jones is very comfortable with the coordinator’s demeanor and progress, also seeing him internally as a future head coach. Losing Moore would be seen by the Jones family as a significant departure, and although McCarthy had won a Lombardi Trophy, he took the job knowing that Jones wanted to keep Moore as coordinator. McCarthy’s two-year tenure was also filled with ups and downs.

“If this season doesn’t end the way Jerry thinks it should, don’t be surprised if Kellen Moore is their next head coach much sooner rather than later,” a source familiar with Jones said. “He doesn’t want to lose it.”

Another source close to the owner added: “It’s not like there’s no precedent for something like this. Remember what they did to keep Jason Garrett. It wouldn’t be totally irrelevant.”

Jones made Garrett the highest paid assistant in football to keep him from taking the Ravens head coach job, and promoted him to head coach afterwards. Like Garrett, Moore is also a former Cowboys quarterback who was considered a quick riser in NFL circles. Jones has invested heavily in Prescott and wants to see him produce as a $40 million quarterback and sees Moore as key in that process. Moore, 33, has already interviewed for the vacant Jaguars head coaching job, and the Broncos, Dolphins and Vikings will be talking to him as well.

Quinn has former head coaching experience in Atlanta, taking the Falcons to the Super Bowl before reappearing in Dallas after being fired by the Falcons. He quickly toppled a Cowboys defense that had been awful for years and in the process became one of the most coveted candidates this hiring cycle. The Jaguars wanted to interview Quinn — that interview hasn’t happened yet — and the Broncos, Dolphins, Vikings and Bears have also asked to interview him.

Losing either candidate would be a huge blow and losing both, or even the fear of losing both, could be devastating and could cause Jones to react to keep one. Sources said the property hasn’t hinted to anyone in the organization that they might bring in an assistant for a promotion, but there are plenty of people involved in this ongoing hiring cycle in 2022 who anticipate it if the Cowboys fall at home to the 49ers on Sunday.

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