Cowboys News: McCarthy’s press conference stuns; new invites for Quinn, Whitt

McCarthy stood by the ill-fated final play and is confident in his job security, but he acknowledged that penalties need to be addressed. | From @ToddBrock24f7

The Cowboys head coach held his season-ending press conference on Wednesday, and the longer it went on, the more bombshells he dropped. Hard to say what’s more shocking for Cowboys fans who are still bitterly disappointed: that the coach seems smugly confident in his job security, that he’s still defending the quarterback draw that ended their playoff run, or that he continued to ride Ezekiel Elliott over Tony Pollard after Elliott tore a PCL the first weekend in October. At least he acknowledged that penalties will be a major point of emphasis this offseason.

McCarthy’s staff remains a popular bunch. Dan Quinn and Kellen Moore interviewed virtually with the Vikings, Quinn got a new invite from a division rival, and one of Quinn’s defensive assistants is now on the radar for the DC gig at one of Quinn’s old stops.

Elsewhere, a Cowboys legend drags the team for not keeping it simple with one of their top playmakers, a pair of rookies prep for ankle surgery this week, a depth defender heads for greener pastures, Dallas does big ratings once again, and a draft guru has the Cowboys looking to the college champs for next season. Here’s the News and Notes.

Stephen Jones on Cowboys keeping McCarthy: ‘Absolutely. Very confident.’

Jerry had no comment Sunday night, but Stephen was decisive Monday: McCarthy will return in 2022, even as 2 coordinators could leave. | From @ToddBrock24f7

Sunday night, in the immediate aftermath of the Cowboys’ stunning loss to San Francisco in the wild card round of the 2021 postseason, team owner Jerry Jones was unwilling to discuss the future of head coach Mike McCarthy.

McCarthy has been on the job just two seasons, compiling an 18-15 regular-season record. But the sky-high expectations for this season’s squad, coupled with a series of underachieving and embarrassing losses, plus a pair of coordinators who are already hot prospects on the head-coach-interview circuit, have cast serious doubt on the long-term belief in the McCarthy Experiment, for many fans and football minds alike.

But Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, speaking on Dallas radio Monday, tried to put the debate to bed when he was asked about McCarthy’s continued employment with the organization.

He gave a three-word answer.

That curt vote of confidence comes as offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn prepare for a busy week of interviews with other clubs.

At least one NFL insider reported over the weekend that were the Cowboys to fall to the 49ers, the Jones family would be forced to at least consider firing McCarthy and replacing him with either Moore or Quinn. Those reports only gained traction and volume with the Cowboys’ anemic and unprepared showing in the 23-17 loss.

A contingent from the Broncos will travel to Dallas to interview with both Cowboys assistants on Tuesday. Quinn is said to have three other interviews lined up for the week. Moore has been invited to speak to other teams, too.

“It’s real hard to keep people from taking a head football coaching opportunity,” Jones told The K&C Masterpiece Show. “There’s a big difference between being a coordinator and being a head coach. Certainly, we understand; they deserve it. They have their full body of work and a very successful season. Dan has had success as a head coach. That just comes with the territory, and we’ll have to roll up out sleeves with them. We’ve had great relationships with both men, and we’ll just work with them as they navigate these waters. And as we do that, we’ll be thinking about what the future holds for the Cowboys, as well. Obviously, that will be first and foremost.”

Trying to reading between the lines of what a Jones says in a live radio interview is always rife with danger. Both Jerry and Stephen have been known to blow smoke or spin a story the way they want it perceived in the public eye.

But Stephen’s answer sure makes it sound like the Cowboys are committed to McCarthy, even if that means losing both Moore and Quinn.

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Jerry Jones: ‘Quite a letdown’, but won’t discuss McCarthy’s status as HC

The Cowboys owner said, ‘We needed to make this happen.’ After another early playoff exit for the team, something else may have to happen. | From @ToddBrock24f7

In the end, it was Jerry Jones who perhaps summed it up best.

In the moments following a devastating 23-17 loss to the 49ers that ousted Dallas from the postseason yet again, the the 79-year-old owner described the team’s pathetic performance as just the latest chapter in a book that Cowboys fans have grown all too accustomed to reading along with.

“We had a team that, all year, would basically disappoint to some degree, and then turn around and show,” Jones told reporters at AT&T Stadium Sunday night. “And this was a game that we needed to show. And against a team like San Francisco, as solid a team as they are, no matter how good we looked on paper, we needed to make this happen.”

Jones, though, was unwilling to entertain axing the character most are painting as the bad guy most responsible for that disappointment, head coach Mike McCarthy.

“I don’t even want to discuss anything like that at this particular time. No discussion.”

But like it or not, Jones will have to discuss a coaching change sooner rather than later. With offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn both listed on the slate for multiple head coaching interviews around the league, there is almost assuredly change coming at or very near the top of the Cowboys coaching staff.

The idea that Jones would be able to keep the trio of McCarthy, Moore, and Quinn intact for another season was always a far-fetched one. But that was before the sloppy and undisciplined playoff loss that Cowboys players simply looked unprepared for. Now, it’s doubtful that many around the team even want to keep all three.

“I’m not going to discuss coaching, the preparation, any of those things,” Jones repeated. “That’s not on the table. The game speaks for itself.”

That it does.

Five-of-14 on third downs. Just 77 rushing yards. A mind-numbing 14 penalties. Five sacks allowed. Only one drive with snaps inside the opponent’s red zone… and that was after the defense’s lone takeaway set up the offense eight yards away. A 53% completion rate from the $40 million-dollar quarterback. A special-teams unit that pulled off a fake punt, but couldn’t get the ball snapped on the ensuing first down without being called for delay of game. An offense that couldn’t execute a hurry-up spike as the clock ticked to zero.

“It’s quite a letdown,” Jones muttered in the stadium tunnel. “Quite a letdown.”

Time ran out on the Cowboys. And now time could be running out on Jones’s chances to bring a sixth Lombardi Trophy to Dallas.

“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. “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.”

While Jones may still believe in the guys actually wearing helmets and pads on Sundays, the focus will, now, inevitably, turn to the guys with the headsets and whistles.

“This is one of the best group of players that I’ve been around.”

Jones himself emphasized the one key word in that sentence.

He knows changes are coming to the coaching staff. Which coordinators get lured away may be out of his control. But whether he elects to retain McCarthy- now 10-9 all-time in the postseason as a head coach- is for him and him alone to decide.

No matter how good we looked on paper, we needed to make this happen.

Those were Jones’s own words. Cowboys Nation waits to see what he will make happen before the 2022 edition.

We had a team that, all year, would basically disappoint to some degree, and then turn around and show.

They disappointed mightily on Sunday. Now it’s up to Jones to turn around and show… something.

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They tried it, but Washington can’t compare to Cowboys in advanced analytics

What areas are the WFT competitive with the division-leading Cowboys? A look at EPA, DVOA, Success rate and more metrics for Week 16. | From @ProfessorO_NFL

The Cowboys have three scenarios for clinching the division this week, and it’s wholly possible their work will be done for them before they hit the field on Sunday night. On Thursday, they earned a spot in the playoffs by virtue of the San Francisco 49ers’ loss at the hand of the Tennessee Titans, but just because others can and have assisted Dallas it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be prepared to handle their own business.

The Dallas Cowboys (10-4) will host the Washington Football Team (6-8) on Sunday Night Football with the opportunity to give Cowboys fans a late Christmas gift.  The Cowboys are currently the No. 2 seed in the NFL and have chance to clinch the divisional title with any of the following scenarios: a win/tie over Washington, a Philadelphia Eagles loss/tie or a combination of 1.5 wins by LV, Jax, LAC, NE, MIN and Atlanta). All of those other contests happen earlier in the day on Sunday, but things still could come down to a divisional matchup.

The Cowboys are riding a three-game-in-three-week road winning streak, the first time they’ve accomplished this feat since 1969. They boast the No. 1 defense in the league on third-down conversions allowed (31.9%) and are tied for No.1 in takeaways with 31 on the season.

The Football Team is in the midst of a five-game stretch of NFC East opponents. They’ve lost the last two games to Dallas and Philadelphia and their playoff odds are getting increasingly smaller with each defeat. Some good news for WFT is that quarterback Taylor Heinicke was removed from COVID protocol and will be eligible to play Sunday Night.

Each week we open up the Advanced Stat Notebook to analyze how each team ranks in EPA, DVOA, ANY/A and Toxic Differential. These four key metrics have a high correlation to win probability. Let’s review this week’s edition to see which team will get presents and which will get coal.

‘Stress is additive:’ McCarthy’s Cowboys prepping for late-season success by practicing less

“Stress is additive,” McCarthy said this week. Shorter virtual meetings and more Christmas time off will be his counterintuitive approach. | From @ToddBrock24f7

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. At least where Mike McCarthy’s winning percentage as a head coach is concerned. But that doesn’t mean he’s kicking into Scrooge mode to keep the wins coming. In fact, just the opposite.

The Cowboys have turned the tables after a rough November swoon and rattled off three straight wins since the calendar turned to December. Dallas can officially lock up the NFC East title this Sunday night by getting one more, to cap off a perfect month.

“This is what it’s all about,” McCarthy told reporters earlier this week. “You always want to be playing for something. I think that you learn over the years what it takes from a commitment, and it takes a lot out of you. And that’s the joy of it all, to be competing in December. I like the way this thing lays up; we’re fighting for a division title Sunday night. What else can you ask for?”

Well, Cowboys fans can always find more to ask for. And right now, a return to the scoreboard-short-circuiting fireworks of Weeks 3 through 6 might just top the Christmas wish list. Dak Prescott and the offense averaged 39 points and 473 yards per game over that four-win span. Over the past three victories: 25 points and 342 yards per game.

It’s gotten the job done, of course. And this late in the season, that’s all that counts. Just win. It doesn’t matter by how much; not really. No points for style. Do just enough to get the W, and make sure you’re ready to turn around and do it again.

And that’s a big reason why business around The Star this time of year looks a lot different that it did back in August. It may seem counterintuitive, but as the season enters the true home stretch- when every game has far-reaching implications in terms of playoff seedings and home-field advantage- McCarthy’s Cowboys are actually putting in less work during the week.

“If you took our schedule from Week 1 to this week, it would be 90 minutes shorter,” the coach explained. “Frankly, you have to practice what you preach: physical, mental, emotional stress is additive. So being in tune with that, and just stress that the players go through later in the year is higher. You’ve got to recognize the holiday season and handling success. I mean, we’re having success as a football team. We have individuals that are having success, probably higher than they may have in the past. So you have to handle those things and it just– it’s not just a PowerPoint presentation. The ability to make it flow as part of your work day, I think it’s real important.”

COVID concerns have prompted the team to move to more- but often shorter- virtual meetings. But that’s just as much a product of the calendar, McCarthy admits. A full five months after training camp, the players simply shouldn’t need as much classroom time or as many practice-field snaps to internalize the concepts they’ll use come kickoff.

The fact that it’s Christmas week only makes the decision easier.

“We can get our work done Wednesday and Thursday [and then] Friday, still be done by 1:00 o’clock, 1:15,” McCarthy said. “Christmas Eve is a big night, too. I think it’s important for guys to be get out of here relatively early. We’re not going to do the STAA [soft-tissue activation and acceleration] program because of the social distancing. So they’ll be gone probably an hour earlier than they normally are. And then on Christmas, I think it’s important for everybody to be home in the morning. So we’re just going to come in late afternoon, have a practice. And the fact that we play on Sunday night, we moved all our meetings to Sunday morning. So everybody will be home for Christmas. They’ll come here 3:00 o’clock and they’ll be home by 5:00. Everybody will be home for dinner. I think that’s a great Christmas Day schedule.”

If it sounds like slacking off, remember that McCarthy knows a thing or two about winning December football.

Yes, his impressive late-season winning percentage has plenty to do with a 13-year run of hosting home games in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Coming to the frozen tundra in December and beating the home team in weather that’s frequently more than frightful is tough sledding, no matter who the Packers coach is.

But McCarthy actually learned many of his routines and philosophies years earlier, in Kansas City.

“Fortunate to be part of Marty Schottenheimer’s staff,” the 58-year-old coach shared. “It was an established program before I even arrived there. It was a perennial playoff team, and a lot of those thoughts and regimens did come from him. A lot of what we do structurally and the process component of preparing for a game, I still use from my time with Marty. But the ’90s was a different era… You didn’t play as many division games that late, but the importance of when the fundamental part of your football team has to be heightened, and execution is everything. We talk about that a lot- more than ever- just because you should be in a very good routine and a process through your game planning, the things that you’re running weekly. The ability to beat the guy across from you consistently this time of year has to be heightened, because you’re not going to get to where you want to go if it doesn’t flow through your whole football team. But yeah, it was definitely established in that time.”

It took McCarthy a while- and some trial and error- to find a balance that works. He relayed a story about his 2006 Packers team not being able to get through the second quarter of a preseason game because he had overworked them leading up to the contest.

With a regular season that now extends well into January, McCarthy and the Cowboys can’t afford to make that same mistake in 2021. He points to the turnaround his squad engineered late last season- scoring points, forcing turnovers, and winning three straight December games- as evidence that the plan can pay off.

“I think we [the ’06 Packers] were 1-4, then 4-4 [Ed. note: actually 3-5], and then 4-8. So, we were really struggling there. Then we won the last four,” the coach said.

“I felt the same way last year,” he continued, recalling his 2020 Dallas group.

“I felt that at the end, particularly [with] something as simple as taking care of the ball and taking it away. I felt that’s such an important part of success. We all work on it. It’s important for every football team that’s ever played the game; I get it. But I’m a big believer in ROI [return on investment]: you get what you emphasize. And I felt that that last stretch, we were playing some good football.”

McCarthy’s ’21 Cowboys are playing some good football at the moment. What’s most exciting is that seemingly everyone- both inside the organization and out- feels they are still quite capable of playing extraordinary football.

The unstoppable machine that the Cowboys could very well be is just waiting to be unwrapped and plugged in. Maybe a little extra down time for Christmas will help them find the right box under the tree.

And then maybe it really will be the most wonderful time of this football year.

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McCarthy: Guarantee of Cowboys win was ‘honest answer,’ sees WFT as ‘blank faces’ in big rivalry game

Mike McCarthy says he doesn’t spend much time on bulletin board material, but managed to provide more of it in responding to blowback over his guarantee of a win. | From @ToddBrock24f7

There’s a fine line between being confident and being cocky. Which side of it Thursday’s comments out of Dallas about the Cowboys’ Week 14 showdown with Washington fall on depend largely on which team’s colors you happen to be wearing.

In a storied rivalry that rarely needs any extra attention or hype, each locker room now has provided juicy bulletin board material for the other. What is unusual, though, is that it’s not the players who are jawing. It’s the coaches.

Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy, on his first day back in the Cowboys’ facility after a 10-day bout with COVID-19 caused him to miss his team’s win over New Orleans, made waves during a press conference when he was asked about the various ups and downs that have impacted his squad both on and off the field over the first 13 weeks of the season.

“We know what people think of us. We love that. We’re comfortable with who we are, where we are,” McCarthy told reporters Thursday. “But I’m excited about what’s in front of us. We’re going to win this game; I’m confident in that.”

To state the obvious, that’s not exactly Joe Namath using the word “guarantee” as he sits poolside with starstruck reporters prior to Super Bowl III. Nonetheless, McCarthy’s confident prediction made its way back to Washington head coach Ron Rivera in short order.

“I think it’s interesting; I don’t think it’s important,” Rivera said, per the Washington Football Team’s Julie Donaldson. “I think that’s the big mistake, because as far as I’m concerned, you do that for a couple of reasons. One is, you want to get in our head. And so I’ve told our players, ‘That’s interesting; it’s not important. What’s important is our preparation, getting ready to play on Sunday.’ Secondly, he’s trying to convince his team. So, again, I think that’s another mistake. Because he’s now made it about him and what he said. It’s not about his players anymore. So I think that’s a big mistake. That’s why, to me, you don’t do those things. What you do is you focus in, you get ready, and you play football. We show up on Sunday, and we’ll see what happens.”

Rivera may say it’s not about the Cowboys players now. But they say they have no problem with McCarthy putting out there publicly what they all feel anyway.

“I love it. It makes us go harder,” said running back Tony Pollard, who will reportedly be a game-time decision Sunday with a foot injury. “It just shows that he believes in us, he puts his trust in us, and everything he has, he’s behind us all the way. As a team, it just makes you go harder when you know your coaches are out there defending you, keeping your name up, so it’s big.”

“[Expletive], yeah,” quarterback Dak Prescott agreed. “Obviously, if you’re preparing for this game, if you’re a Dallas Cowboy, if you’re a fan, you expect to go in and win each and every game. I don’t think he’s said anything different than everyone in this building’s thoughts; he just voiced it. Now we have to make sure that we’re accountable for our words. I think that’s all that is, the coach setting the tone for the week. His first day back, making sure everybody understands where his mind is and where this team’s mindset is.”

Cornerback Trevon Diggs expects an afternoon of “smash-mouth football.”

“I feel like everybody knows the importance of this game,” Diggs said Thursday. “Everybody knows the importance of the situation. And that’s always the mindset every week, for us to win. So I wouldn’t expect him to say we’re going to lose.”

By Friday, McCarthy wasn’t interested in spending any real time talking about his comments… or Rivera’s criticism of them.

“Context is important, and I think sometimes that gets lost, ” he said in Friday’s presser. “But it’s irrelevant what anybody thinks- anybody thinks- about what I said in here yesterday. I was talking about my team. I can always coach my own team. And that’s where I’m at with it. We have great confidence in what we’re trying to do. It was an honest answer to a question.”

McCarthy’s prediction was a stronger-than-usual statement, though, when compared with the cliched coachspeak that fans and media have become accustomed- and often conditioned- to.

But even if it’s braggadocio-laced bulletin-board material, it doesn’t concern McCarthy’s boss in the slightest.

I don’t get hung up on the bit about the guarantee. That should be his attitude. He expects to win. He thinks we will win. I expect that. I would be shocked if he couldn’t make that kind of statement,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Friday. “Having said that, I’ll tell you what: He’s raring and ready. He’s been penned up, and that’s reflected in his demeanor as well as how he’s articulating his feelings.”

They’re the feelings of many a Cowboys fan this week. After a very strong September and undefeated October- even through a slew of missed games by key starters- Dallas won just one of four November tilts. Now with a seemingly-mostly-healthy roster, they enter the final stretch of games that will determine the division, and the first test will be against their most hated rival, who comes in on a somewhat unlikely four-game winning streak.

But while the stakes are plenty high as it is, it’s also Dallas-Washington. So for every bit of pregame back-and-forth to be magnified, well, that’s just to be expected.

“We as a franchise, we as the Cowboys, we put it out there. And we know we do,” Jones said. “We ask folks to look at us, be interested in us, follow us. We know a bunch of people look at us because they’d like to see us lose. That’s sport. That creates the excitement, the reason I’m in it, and the reason we are engaged. And so yes, the answer is: I like all of this kind of additional color to the interest in the game. Of course, you really don’t have to color this game. It has everything going for it. Much at stake. It’s right here at the right time. This is the fourth quarter that we’re in, of the year. Football is at its absolute apex, and we’re sitting here basically fighting, literally, for the marbles, and we need to win this game.”

Perhaps it’s not a surprise then, that one of McCarthy’s first actions when he returned to the team was to show them a video compilation highlighting the historical significance of the club’s longstanding history with Washington.

But if he’s making no bones about his own mindset, that he expects to come away with a victory, then maybe it really is- as they so often say in coachspeak- just another game.

“I mean, what am I supposed to say?” McCarthy laughed when asked on Thursday. “Yeah, we fully- I fully- expect to win every game I’ve ever competed in. I mean, that’s what sports is all about. That’s what the NFL is. Trust me, I understand how hard it is. They’re working hard, we’re working hard. But we’re clearly planning on going to Washington to win the game.”

No bulletin-board material required.

Even if he himself accidentally provided plenty of it.

“I don’t spend any time on it, frankly,” the coach explained to the room full of reporters. “With respect to your jobs, I think it’s a waste of your time. I think if we have to worry about print and things like that–  I’m more focused on the real stuff. I think it’s important you go through the week to identify how the opponent’s going to play you, the things you’re expecting. But by Friday, they’re just blank faces to me.”

They’re just blank faces to me.

Call it one last addition for the Washington bulletin board.

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Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy to return to team Thursday for final WFT prep

The coach spent the full 10 days away with symptoms he described as “more than a cold,” but he’ll be in early Thursday to prep for Sunday. | From @ToddBrock24f7

The Cowboys’ head coach will back in the building. Just as soon as he possibly can be.

Mike McCarthy has cleared COVID protocols and is set to make his return to work on Thursday. McCarthy spent the full mandated 10 days in isolation and missed the team’s Week 13 win in New Orleans. But now he’ll rejoin the club at The Star in Frisco just in time for final preparations for a key NFC East showdown in Washington this Sunday.

“The protocol experience has been an education, to say the least, but I feel great. I’m ready to go,” McCarthy said, per ESPN. “Frankly, I think it’s more of a technicality with the testing process that’s keeping me out the full 10 days. So my arrival will be first thing in the morning. Actually, I think I might go at midnight, 12:01 tonight.”

McCarthy has been living at a hotel since the day after Thanksgiving. Several of his family members have still contracted the virus, so he will extend his stay a while longer.

“We just want to make sure we get our home space 100% clear before we have everybody back at the house,” he said.

The Cowboys have had a slew of coaches and players on the COVID list recently. Four players and five coaching staff members were taken off the watchlist on Tuesday. Only rookie cornerback Nahshon Wright remains out; he is expected to be cleared on Friday.

The team as a whole will be trying to get back to normal after the mini-outbreak. The facility’s weight room reopened just last week, players can now eat meals at the facility, and meetings will once again be in-person following a brief return to Zoom.

“I’m just thankful that it is behind me and, frankly, I can get back to my job full-time,” McCarthy continued. “It’s a challenge, definitely, not being there every day, especially with what’s right in front of us, the Washington challenge. I’ll definitely look at it as a silver lining as, obviously, I don’t have to deal with [testing] for the next 90 days.”

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Mike McCarthy confirms Dan Quinn will coach Cowboys from sideline vs Saints

Dan Quinn will be on the sideline, handling in-game decisions for the team as well as performing his DC duties in New Orleans. | From @ToddBrock24f7

Upon news breaking of Mike McCarthy’s positive COVID test Monday, speculation began immediately regarding who would step in and assume the Cowboys’ interim head coaching duties when Dallas travels to New Orleans to face the Saints on Thursday night.

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn seemed to be the logical choice, given his recent five-plus-year stint as the head man in Atlanta and Super Bowl appearance on his resume. But longtime Packers player and staffer Rob Davis, hired by McCarthy in January 2020, has the “assistant head coach” title next to his name, seemingly designating him as the No. 2, despite no tangible coaching experience.

Both were named by various sources in Monday morning news reports as the likely candidate to fill in for McCarthy. Now McCarthy himself has spoken, confirming to USA Today Sports that Quinn will call the shots in Week 13, as per Jori Epstein.

Quinn, who normally coaches the defense from the booth, will be on the sideline Thursday night and retain his defensive coordinator role during the game.

“I think, understandably, with Dan’s experience, the challenge flag, the timeouts, the referees’ meeting, there’s just a lot of little things that go into it,” McCarthy told reporters via conference call Monday afternoon. “Number one, he’s done it before, so that’s obviously part of the thinking, part of the reason going through the change. He’s called a defense two years as the head coach. With that, I was trying to keep it as tight as I possibly can. Anytime you have one change, you don’t want to make 6 adjustments.”

Davis will handle administrative duties in McCarthy’s absence.

Before the news of his COVID test, McCarthy shared with Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan that he had already relocated temporarily as an extra precaution following the holidays; the entire league has ramped up virus protocols at all team facilities.

“Our players have done an excellent job taking the extra step,” McCarthy told Shan and RJ early Monday morning. “Personally, I’ve moved into a hotel the last couple days. Our climate here is we’re doing the things necessary to give us the best chance each and every week.”

The entire coaching staff will undergo something of a shuffle for the time being. Offensive line coach Joe Philbin and assistant offensive line coach Jeff Blasko are out with COVID; tights end coach Lunda Wells has stepped in there. Offensive quality control coach Chase Haslett takes over the tight end group. Team consultant Ben McAdoo, a former coach, will take on extra responsibilities, too.

Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and special teams coordinator John Fassel will continue leading their respective units.

McCarthy, who confirmed to USA Today that he is vaccinated, says he plans to be involved in the Cowboys’ game plan by leading virtual meetings this week, up until and including Thursday.

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Cowboys Wire Pod: It’s time to start putting some respect on Mike McCarthy’s tenure

Atlanta might not have been the toughest opponent, but the team’s response speaks volumes to the coaching staff. How will Chiefs game go? | From @KDDrummondNFL and @RyanO_Leary

In last week’s episode, K.D. Drummond and Ryan O’Leary discussed the abysmal performance of the Dallas Cowboys in their Week 9 loss to the Denver Broncos. Was it a sign of things to come? Had sloppy practice habits crept into an organization full of themselves?

The test was going to be how they responded in the follow up game against Atlanta. That would determine the job that has been done by head coach Mike McCarthy in transforming this club. Well, test passed and with flying colors. The guys discuss the Atlanta game, talk about whether or not to believe in the next opponents’ three-game win streak and what way to go when it comes to betting on the Cowboys-Chiefs in Week 11. Another jam-packed episode is on tap!

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Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy left speechless when NFL legend makes appearance

Native Pittsburgher Mike McCarthy needed a moment after a larger-than-life figure from his youth casually walked past his press conference. | From @ToddBrock24f7

Mike McCarthy has been in the NFL for nearly 30 years, hoisted a Lombardi Trophy, and coached some of the greatest players of this generation.

But even he can still get a little starstruck.

The Cowboys coach was in the middle of his Friday morning press conference when a larger-than-life figure casually strolled past the glass-box media room at the Ford Center, catching McCarthy’s eye.

The 57-year-old coach stopped mid-answer and gave an awkward wave before turning back to the assembled reporters.

“Roger Staubach,” the coach pointed out with a grin.

Despite the current crop of superstars he talks to daily- and forget coming to work at a building where five world championship trophies greet you in the front lobby- it’s not every day that Captain Comeback himself interrupts your train of thought with a personal appearance.

“Man, I’m shook,” McCarthy stumbled as the gallery laughed. “Thinking about the old Super Bowls; Steelers and the Cowboys,” the native Pittsburgher remarked as he tried- unsuccessfully- to get himself back on track.

“What the hell were we talking about?”

Staubach was at the facility in advance of the Salute to Service celebration scheduled to take place during Sunday’s game against the Broncos, team owner Jerry Jones said Friday on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan.

“It is all leading up to the recognition of the Medal of Honor recipients that will be noted in a big way at the Denver-Cowboy game,” Jones said.

Here’s hoping McCarthy will get the opportunity to be formally introduced to Staubach before kickoff… assuming the coach can find his words by then.

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