The Jones family and Mike McCarthy thought they knew what they were getting in each other.
In McCarthy, the Joneses would get a proven coach -- the joke upon his hiring was that McCarthy was undefeated in AT&T Stadium, having never lost to the Cowboys and earned his Super Bowl victory during his Green Bay tenure -- who knew what it took to take this ready-made roster over the top.
In Dallas, McCarthy got a chance at redemption. With Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, DeMarcus Lawrence and the rest, the Cowboys gave McCarthy a chance to become the first coach to lead two franchises to Super Bowl glory.
Half a season later, the Cowboys are 2-5 and a 2-14 record isn't off the table. The defense is on track to be the worst in league history, Prescott is out for the season, and the offensive line has been decimated by injuries.
This start has been so bad, so off track from what everyone expected, that it's lead to murmurs if McCarthy could be one-and-done in Dallas.
Not so, said Stephen Jones.
“I know we’ve got the right head guy for the job, and it’s a work in progress," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. "These things just take time. I know our fans are frustrated. We certainly understand the criticism that’s come our way. But we’ve got to go to work. It’s the first year with this group. You know Jerry and I are big believers in sticking with the staff. We’ve just got to give them their opportunity to work with these guys and continue to implement what they’re trying to get accomplished.”
The Joneses are famously loyal. See: giving premature extensions to a number of players; letting Jason Garrett stick around much longer than anyone else in the business would have. So the thought that they'd make a second change in two years, especially one where Dak missed the final three-fourths of the season, was never realistic.
The optimistic view of the situation was that even a Dream Team staff of Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh and Tom Landry couldn't make chicken salad out of a season with no quarterback, no offensive line and no real off-season to implement their program.
But the contrarian view is that this staff and this roster were a mismatch from the beginning. The team invested in the wrong players (Elliott, Lawrence, Jaylon Smith) and wasn't going to be that good if even Dak remained healthy. (They were 1-3 with him in the lineup.) A realistic view of the situation finds that the Cowboys need a complete rebuild, and Mike McCarthy, at this stage in his career, isn't a rebuild coach.
But that's the pessimistic view, and there is no greater optimist in America than Jerry Jones on the subject of the Dallas Cowboys' fortunes.