Favre appears to think that will be the case, as he explained Monday. McCarthy, who worked with Favre as Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach in 1999 and then later as the Packers’ head coach, brings “a certain level of brash and toughness” to Dallas, Favre said on SiriusXM NFL Radio (via the Athletic).
“I don’t know Jerry other than what I see and hear. Obviously, he’s the owner and everything starts and stops with him,” Favre said of Jones, who took over the team in 1989 and is rarely shy about expressing his thoughts to the media.
“Mike’s a smart guy. He knows that [about Jones] and he knows that maybe at times Jerry will interfere or say things that you don’t agree with or don’t like,” Favre continued. “But it is what it is. I’ll say this: Mike is one of those guys from Pittsburgh. He’s hard-nosed, and he’s tough. He is an aggressive personality.
“If there’s anyone out there presently that can handle that, it’s Mike.”
A dozen years ago, it was Favre who was testing McCarthy’s ability to handle a high-profile push-and-pull within an NFL organization. After leading Green Bay to a Super Bowl title in 1997 and rewriting the Packers’ record book, Favre had announced his retirement in the spring of 2008, only to change his mind later that summer.
At that point, though, McCarthy had already decided to move forward with Aaron Rodgers, who had spent three years as Favre’s understudy after being a first-round pick in 2005. Eventually, Favre was traded to the New York Jets before the start of the 2008 season, following some “brutally honest” conversations, as McCarthy put it at the time, with the coach.
Despite that history, Favre was full of praise Monday for McCarthy, calling the 56-year-old coach “tailor-made” for the Cowboys’ job. Jones moved quickly to lock up McCarthy after waiting a week to part ways with Jason Garrett, who had coached the team for 10 years but presided over a disappointing 8-8 campaign this season.
Garrett went 85-67 in Dallas, with a 2-3 record in the playoffs and no appearances in a conference title game. Over a 13-season stint as Green Bay’s head coach that ended in 2018, McCarthy went 125-77-2, with a 10-8 postseason mark that included a Super Bowl win and three other runs to the conference championship game.
“I think it’s a good fit for Mike, and I think it’s a great fit for the Cowboys,” Favre said in his radio appearance.
He later added: “I’m not here to knock Jason Garrett for the job he did. I’m talking about from here and into the future, I think he’ll bring a level of brash and toughness, but along with that, a high level of confidence and believability.”
Rodgers and McCarthy did not always appear to be on the same page, despite their many years together, and reports emerged of tensions between the two during the coach’s final season in Green Bay. But Favre said he thought Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott could work with McCarthy, who Favre said could adjust.
“Mike has his philosophy as far as offense is concerned, and I don’t think that’s going to change greatly,” Favre said of McCarthy, “but I do think what he’ll do is try to incorporate what Dak feels very comfortable with.”
Of greater importance, though, could be McCarthy’s ability to forge an effective relationship with the strong-willed Jones. At least one noted former pupil of the coach thinks McCarthy’s “aggressive” nature — which would stand in contrast to that of the mild-mannered Garrett — should help him in handling his new owner.