49ers Cowboys Football

Mike McCarthy faces an uncertain future as coach of the Dallas Cowboys after a loss in the wild-card round, with both of his coordinators in running for head coaching jobs. Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via the Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas — Mike McCarthy’s future as Dallas Cowboys coach wasn’t something Jerry Jones wanted to discuss after a wild-card loss that left the owner saying “I can’t remember” when asked if he’d ever been more disappointed in defeat.

Questions about McCarthy come in part because the Cowboys could lose both coordinators to head coaching jobs in Kellen Moore on offense and Dan Quinn on defense. Moore is getting interviews for a second consecutive year, and Quinn took Atlanta to a Super Bowl in that role.

The 23-17 loss to San Francisco on Sunday was another uneven performance from franchise quarterback Dak Prescott and Moore’s offense. It was punctuated by the hotly debated decision to run Prescott up the middle without a timeout with 14 seconds remaining believing there was time to spike the ball and run one more play.

After it didn’t work and McCarthy, Prescott and other Dallas players criticized officials for the clock running out, Jones flatly rejected the supposed controversy with a dose of reality.

“I think this is a time that when you get this combination of players together, you need to have success, because we all know how it goes in the NFL,” Jones said after Sunday’s game. “The whole thing is set up to take away from the best, and add to the ones that need improvement, and personnel-wise, I think we have one of the best (teams).”

The Cowboys haven’t even reached an NFC championship game since winning the last of the franchise’s five Super Bowl titles during the 1995 season. It’s quite a drought for Jones, also the club’s general manager, after Dallas won three championships in four years early in his ownership.

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TITANS: Tennessee is rested and healthier than it has been in weeks, maybe months. It also know its next opponent.

Now they get a chance to prove how well they used their bye week as the AFC’s top seed.

“I guess we’ll see on Saturday if it was enough,” Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said.

The Titans (12-5) returned to work Sunday after three days off while not knowing their opponent. No. 4 seed Cincinnati (11-7) is locked in as their divisional opponent after Kansas City’s win over Pittsburgh on Sunday night.

Tennessee coaches did some prep work last week on the Bengals, one of two opponents in the AFC playoff field the Titans didn’t play this season. The Titans last faced the Bengals in Cincinnati in 2020, and then-rookie Joe Burrow helped hand Tennessee its second loss that season, 31-20 on Nov. 1.

Vrabel noted the Titans didn’t have many answers for Cincinnati in 2020.

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“That was a long time ago, but obviously we’re very aware of the type of football team that this is and how good they are,” Vrabel said.

This will be the second playoff game between these former AFC Central rivals and first in 31 years. The Bengals won the first game 41-14 on Jan. 6, 1991 when the Titans were the Houston Oilers, then didn’t win another postseason game until downing the Raiders 26-19 in the wild-card round to finally snap their playoff drought.

49ERS: Coach Kyle Shanahan is hopeful that LB Fred Warner (low ankle sprain) can practice this week. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (right shoulder sprain) also should practice.

Meanwhile, San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa is in the concussion protocol and Shanahan said: “He seems like he’s in a pretty good spot right now.” Fellow defensive end Jordan Willis has a high ankle sprain and will likely be sidelined for a while.

BUCCANEERS: All-Pro tackle Tristan Wirfs, who had played every offensive snap this season, suffered an ankle injury on the fifth play of Tampa Bay’s 31-15 win over Philadelphia on Sunday. He returned for three plays in the second quarter, exiting for the remainder of the day after yielding a sack. Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen also limped off at one point, but finished the game.

Coach Bruce Arians said by Friday he’ll have a better idea about their availability for the next game.

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Running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) remains on injured reserve and will be evaluated as the week progresses.

BENGALS: Cincinnati may have to face AFC top-seed Tennessee without starting defensive linemen Trey Hendrickson and Larry Ogunjobi. Hendrickson is in the concussion protocol and Ogunjobi was placed on injured reserve Monday.

That duo teamed up for a huge play in the first quarter when Hendrickson had a strip-sack of Carr and Ogunjobi scooped the fumble and returned it to the Las Vegas 15. The Bengals got a field goal out of the drive to push their lead to 10-3.

Also on Monday, Cincinnati returned G Xavier Su’a-Filo to the active roster from injured reserve. He started the first two games but has been out with a knee injury since Oct. 9.

RAIDERS: The Las Vegas Raiders have fired General Manager Mike Mayock after three seasons and will begin a search for a coach and GM following their second playoff berth in the past 19 seasons.

The Raiders announced the move to get rid of Mayock two days after losing their wild-card playoff game to Cincinnati 26-19.

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Coach Jon Gruden brought Mayock in to replace Reggie McKenzie following the 2018 season, but the Raiders had spotty results in the draft and free agency in recent years.

Gruden resigned in October following the publication of his old offensive emails, and now Mayock is out as well, potentially giving owner Mark Davis a clean slate.

Interim coach Rich Bisaccia led the Raiders (10-8) to the playoffs with four straight wins to end the regular season, but his status going forward remains unknown. He has met with Davis and the Raiders must conduct a full search before deciding on a new coach to satisfy the Rooney Rule.

BEARS: The Chicago Bears interviewed Indianapolis executive Ed Dodds for their general manager job and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus for their head coaching position.

Dodds has 19 years of experience in the NFL. He has spent the past five in Indianapolis’ front office, including four as assistant GM under Chris Ballard. Before that, Dodds worked for Seattle from 2007 to 2016, helping the Seahawks win two conference championships and a Super Bowl.

Eberflus has spent the past four years as Indianapolis’ defensive coordinator, helping turn around a unit that ranked among the league’s worst. The Colts ranked eighth on defense in 2020, though they slipped to 16th this season.

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Indianapolis missed the playoffs at 9-8, closing with two straight losses when a win in either game would have clinched a postseason berth.

The Bears fired GM Ryan Pace and Coach Matt Nagy after going 6-11.

For the GM spot, the Bears have also interviewed their director of player personnel, Champ Kelly; Cleveland Browns executives Glenn Cook and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah; New Orleans Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland; Buffalo Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen; and Tennessee Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort.

Chicago has interviewed several former head coaches to replace Nagy, including Doug Pederson, Brian Flores and Jim Caldwell, as well as Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.

GIANTS: The New York Giants wrapped up the first round of interviews for their vacant general manager’s job, interviewing two executives with the San Francisco 49ers.

Co-owners Steve Tisch and John Mara and and senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara, John’s brother, spoke with Niners assistant general manager Adam Peters and San Francisco director of player personnel Ran Carthon.

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The Giants interviewed nine men for the job that opened a week ago Monday when Dave Gettleman retired after four losing seasons.

The other men interviewed were Joe Hortiz, Ravens director of player personnel; Monti Ossenfort, Titans director of player personnel; Ryan Cowden, Tennessee’s vice president of player personnel; Ryan Poles, Chiefs executive director of player personnel; Quentin Harris, Cardinals vice president of player personnel; Adrian Wilson, Arizona’s vice president of pro personnel Joe Schoen; Bills assistant general manager.

The Giants plan a second round of interviews with some candidates.

Peters, 42, has 19 years experience in the NFL, having worked with New England, Denver and the Niners. He was made assistant GM this year after four seasons as the team’s vice president of player personnel.

Carthon, 40, is completing his first season as the 49ers’ director of player personnel after serving four seasons as the club’s director of pro personnel. He also has worked for the Rams and Falcons. He is the son of former Giants fullback Maurice Carthon.


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