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NFL NOTEBOOK

Cowboys to hire Mike McCarthy to replace Jason Garrett

Mike McCarthy went 4-7-1 in his final season in Green Bay.
Mike McCarthy went 4-7-1 in his final season in Green Bay. AP file/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys didn’t take long to settle on Mike McCarthy as their coach after waiting a week to announce they were moving on from Jason Garrett.

McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl at the home of the Cowboys nine years ago as Green Bay’s coach, has agreed to become the ninth coach in team history, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said Monday. The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hasn’t announced the decision.

McCarthy interviewed over the weekend, before the Cowboys made the announcement Sunday that Garrett wouldn’t return after 9½ seasons.

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Dallas missed the playoffs at 8-8 with high expectations in a make-or-break season for Garrett, whose contract expires next week.

Green Bay made nine trips to the postseason in his 13 years under McCarthy. The 56-year-old was out of football this season after getting fired during what ended up being a second straight losing season for the Packers in 2018.

McCarthy led the Packers to at least 10 wins in eight of his first 11 seasons, including four trips to the NFC championship game.

Dallas hasn’t been that far in the playoffs since the last of the franchise’s five Super Bowl titles to finish the 1995 season. The Cowboys missed the playoffs six times in Garrett’s nine full seasons.

McCarthy also interviewed with Cleveland, Carolina, and the New York Giants. He went 125-77-2 in the regular season with the Packers and 10-8 in the playoffs. The Cowboys have just three playoff wins since their last championship.

With two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback, McCarthy reached the playoffs eight straight years from 2009-16, beating the Garrett-led Cowboys twice in that stretch.

The Cowboys believe they have their next franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott, who was the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after replacing the injured Tony Romo and never relinquishing the starting job.

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Prescott, whose rookie contract is expiring, and two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott have made the playoffs twice in four seasons and got their first playoff victory in 2018 after losing their postseason debut to Rodgers and McCarthy with Dallas as the NFC’s top seed in 2016.

McCarthy was fired after an embarrassing loss at Lambeau Field to Arizona, a defeat that all but sealed a second straight year without a postseason trip for the Packers.

With a mandate to get the Cowboys past the divisional round for the first time in nearly 25 years, Garrett couldn’t build on a 3-0 start. Dallas went 4-8 in the next 12 games with a pair of three-game losing streaks.

The Cowboys still had a chance to make the playoffs with a win at Philadelphia in Week 16, but the 17-9 loss handed their postseason fate to the Eagles for the final week. Philadelphia beat the New York Giants 34-17, eliminating Dallas despite its 47-16 win over Washington.

Dallas finished 8-8 four times under Garrett, who had an 87-70 record, including 2-3 in the playoffs, in nine-plus seasons.

Despite never winning more than one playoff game in a season, the 53-year-old Garrett has the club’s second-longest tenure behind Tom Landry.

Finding his replacement, though, took just a matter of hours.

The Cowboys will hire Mike McCarthy as Garrett’s replacement, multiple outlets are reporting.

McCarthy, 56, led the Green Bay Packers to one Super Bowl — 2011 over the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Dallas of all places — and three other conference championship games.

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He was fired after 13 seasons in Wisconsin; he was at a disappointing 4-7-1 when the Packers made the move in December of 2018. He hasn’t had a coaching job in the NFL since.

McCarthy interviewed with the Cowboys on Saturday. He also spoke with Cleveland, Carolina and the Giants about their head-coaching vacancies.

Jerry Jones will hope that McCarthy can break through in the playoffs where Garrett could not. The Cowboys haven’t been past the divisional round since they won the Super Bowl in 1995.

Rams fire Phillips

Veteran defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has been fired by the Los Angeles Rams after three winning seasons.

Phillips announced on Twitter that the Rams are not renewing his contract. The 72-year-old says he wants to stay in coaching.

The Rams finished 9-7 this season, missing the playoffs for the first time in Phillips’s three-year partnership with Sean McVay. Although Phillips’s distinctive 3-4 defense finished near the top of the NFL in many advanced metrics, McVay has decided to shake up his coaching staff for a third consecutive offseason.

Phillips and the offense-minded McVay joined the Rams together in 2017, with the veteran coordinator serving as an experienced counterpoint and adviser to the youngest head coach in modern NFL history. Phillips also ran a defense that backstopped the Rams to 33 regular-season victories, two NFC West titles, and four playoff games in three seasons.

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The Rams won the NFC championship last season, and Phillips’ defense held New England to 13 points in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever. But McVay’s offense scored only three points against the Patriots, and its fall from the league’s elite continued this season.

Browns meet Daboll

After a one-day break, the Browns are resuming their coaching search by interviewing Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who previously worked in Cleveland.

Daboll is the fifth candidate to meet with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who is trying to find the right coach after firing five since buying the team in 2012.

Daboll was Cleveland’s offensive coordinator under Eric Mangini in 2009-10. He’s had a successful two-year stint with the Bills, helping develop young quarterback Josh Allen, who led Buffalo to a playoff berth.

The Browns need someone to fix quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was wildly inconsistent and regressed in his second season under Freddie Kitchens.

Daboll’s impressive resume also includes five Super Bowl titles on Bill Belichick’s staff in New England. He also won a national championship running Nick Saban’s offense at Alabama in 2017 before leaving for the Bills.

Bears’ Long retires

Three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Kyle Long announced Sunday he is retiring after seven seasons with the Chicago Bears. The oft-injured Long tweeted he is “stepping away and getting my body right,” adding: “I was drafted a Bear and I decided to retire a Bear.”

The son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, he made the Pro Bowl his first three seasons after Chicago drafted him in 2013. But he played in just 30 games the past four years, four this season.

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