Jerry Jones says Dallas Cowboys are onward and upward with Mike McCarthy, Dak Prescott

Clarence Hill/Star-Telegram

It was kind of appropriate that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones held court on Wednesday in the lobby of the Battle House Renaissance, which stands on the site of military headquarters established by Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812 but is best known being a haunted house with ghostly occurrences that have supposedly happened within the walls.

Jones is haunted by the Cowboys’ 19-12 season-ending loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, extending the gap to 27 season since the franchise’s last Super Bowl title in 1995.

Jones, however, sounded more like the late Michael Jackson as he pointed to the Cowboys and themselves needing to look at the man in the mirror and make changes necessary for 2023 if they want to make the Super Bowl more than ghostly dream.

According to Jones, that was the reasoning for the Cowboys parting ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who took the same job with the Los Angeles Chargers. The transition turns the keys of the offense over to head coach Mike McCarthy.

Jones previously preferred a walk-around head coach. It’s the reason he took the play calling away from former coach Jason Garrett and he didn’t want McCarthy calling plays when he hired him in 2020.

With the Cowboys coming off back to back 12-5 seasons, he said change is order.

“For Kellen it’s onward and upward. For us its onward and upward,” Jones said. “I have to change in my mirror. You have to change the mirror. And he has to change.”

The Cowboys will hire an offensive coordinator but McCarthy will call the plays and the Cowboys will run the West Coast offense that McCarthy ran for many years with the Green Bay Packers.

Jones believes it’s best for the Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott.

And with Dan Quinn back to run defense, it gives the Cowboys the best of both worlds in terms of experience and a resume of success running both sides of the ball.

“I think this is just us taking advantage of our situation,” Jones said. “We have to have two head coaches now, with one of course, Mike now able to zero completely in on running the offense, calling the plays and coordinating all of the offensive blocking and receiving and the tight ends, mike can be right in the middle of it because he’s drawing the plays up and he’s calling them in the game. What this really does for us, is maximize the abilities of what we have on this coaching staff. It’s not at all about what Kellen isn’t or wasn’t’ its not at all about that.

“We’ve got a team right now with the success we’ve had over the last two years. this is the logical step to build on and use what we’ve established if you will, the foundation of the wins we got. This is a time for us to build on it and that’s what this is. This is a building step.”

Vice president Stephen Jones also confirmed that McCarthy and Moore had some fundamental philosophical differences on how to run the offense.

McCarthy subjugated his West Coast tendencies for Moore’s offense, which was based on Garrett and Scott Linehan’s timing based basing scheme. He did that because it was best for Prescott at the time.

“I think Mike really felt it was in our best interest to keep Kellen when he first got here because Kellen is outstanding,” Jones said. “But the more he’s been around Kellen and as much as he respects him, there’s still a part of it that doesn’t totally jive with what he wants out of the offense. Just like he would with a quarterback, he wants to thrive and bring what they bring to the table. I think he wanted Kellen to roll but he didn’t totally agree 100 percent with all of the philosophies and the small things that goes into it, and it ultimately came down to ‘hey, if were’ going to take the next step,’ he wants to see if he can make the changes that he thinks can make the difference that he didn’t’ necessarily think that Kellen might have believed in.”

“I think it’s outstanding and I think it’s got a great chance for us to take the next step.”

The Cowboys parted ways with eight coaches after the season. The others were: running backs coach Skip Peete, senior defensive assistant/linebacker coach George Edwards, offensive line coach Joe Philbin, assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett, assistant head coach Rob Davis, quality control analytics coach Kyle Valero and quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier.

They have already made a move to replace one with Mike Solari coming on as offensive line coach, per sources.

The Cowboys interviewed Los Angeles Rams tight ends coach Thomas Brown and former Carolina Panthers running backs coach Jeff Nixon for the offensive coordinator position. Cowboys consultant Brian Schotteinheimer and former Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo are other possible options.

For Jerry Jones, it’s all about a commitment to McCarthy and a belief in what he is doing, even though it looks to be setting up a make or break season for the man he has also said hopes has a coaching career with the Cowboys as long as Hall of Famer Tom Landry (29 years).

“We have a unique opportunity to get the very best here,” Jerry Jones said. “And I think that we have we have an outstanding Super Bowl winner in Mike that he’s got proven abilities as a play caller as an offensive coordinator. I’m confident that Mike can do any and everything this team needs the team as far as the players are concerned. Really follow. Mike. He’s got a genuineness about him. He’s got a he’s got a personality that I think is really giving our players the best chance to be what they can be. And so I’m really impressed with how Mike has coached this team and the unity that he has among the players and I’m looking forward to building on that.

“What it really means is, I believe in him. I believe in what he can do here can last and I believe in the advantage of doing some things that are different. I think there’s a plus for Dak and if it’s a plus for Dak, it’s a plus for all of us.”