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Mike McCarthy talks Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, working with Jerry Jones, and so much more

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The Cowboys introduced Mike McCarthy as head coach and he talked about the future.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Oakland Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys have a new head coach as they made it official today. The team introduced Mike McCarthy at a press conference as the man to lead them into 2020 and beyond. Here’s a paraphrased recap of what he had to say.


Jerry Jones starts things off

Jerry Jones started the press conference off by going through Mike McCarthy’s resume which includes an inordinate amount of success including winning Super Bowl XLV at AT&T Stadium (what was then Cowboys Stadium).

Jerry also noted that the Cowboys found McCarthy to be a man to take teams to a high level and work with some of the greatest quarterbacks that the NFL has ever seen. He noted that McCarthy has a great understanding of the salary cap, has relationships across the league, and has natural instincts for the game and how to get the job done. He also cited his familiarity for working for a historic and NFL franchise that has a worldwide fanbase that expectations are very high for.

Finally Jerry added that when he first got into the NFL that he looked very smart because right as he walked through the door Troy Aikman was the first pick in the draft and the Cowboys were fortunate enough to have it. He noted that those combination of things can make you look real smart when that timing comes together and that this was the analogy that he was alluding to here. He said the Cowboys needed a coach but to have McCarthy’s availability and track record was fortuitous for the Cowboys franchise.

Mike McCarthy speaks!

He started things off by thanking the audience and noted that it was a situation that he was unfamiliar with joking that he never sat for a press conference.

McCarthy noted that he is a very blessed man, married the love of his life, has beautiful children, and professionally was able to lift the Lombardi Trophy. He told a story about last Saturday night with Jerry Jones talking about buying the Cowboys and that Jerry reached his hand over to shake McCarthy’s and said “you need to be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.” He jumped up and hugged him and added that this is a story that he will tell for the rest of his life.

He noted that The Star is an unbelievable facility and one that you don’t just see but feel. He specified that he was looking forward to being the steward of this iconic franchise.

McCarthy noted that the past year has been a gift with a purpose for he and his family. He explained that the purpose was for him to be a better husband, father, and coach. He added that his family is his team and that his team is excited to be part of the Dallas Cowboys.

He went on to say that everything with the Cowboys organization starts and ends with the Jones family and he thanked them for this great opportunity.

McCarthy finished his opening statement by addressing the fans and saying that the commitment will be unwavering. He added that he won a Super Bowl in North Texas and that he is anxious and ready to get to work on winning the next Super Bowl for the Dallas Cowboys.

What appealed to McCarthy about the job an expectations for the first season

McCarthy noted that they would get into expectations as things progressed but that this is the Dallas Cowboys and you don't have to go further than that. He noted that it is an iconic franchise and the opportunity to get in a room and talk football and structure to win a Super Bowl is quite the experience.

He said that the goal for the Cowboys is winning championships but also trusting the process, something he said has already started with putting together a staff. He noted there was nothing to share today specifically on the staff but that they are going to have to build and work on the process every day.

How much did Mike watch the Cowboys in 2019

McCarthy said that he watched a lot of the Cowboys last season and that he watched a lot of tape overall last season. He noted that he used an editing system through Pro Football Focus and that he and The McCarthy Project were tracking trends and things of the like.

He noted that the Cowboys and their excellent offense were a big part of those studies.

What McCarthy learned from his experience during the year off

Mike McCarthy noted that while he didn’t watch every play from last season, he also wanted the job which is why he said that (this was said jokingly). He noted that the process he and his group went through was more about tracking trends and watching some of the newer offenses in the NFL.

Defining innovation

McCarthy noted that a long of things being done in football today have already been done before. He noted that he doesn’t really believe in innovating as much as he believes in evolution. He said that with the analytics in football that so much information is available. He cited third party companies and programs that can be very useful in this regard.

McCarthy on Dak Prescott

Mike McCarthy said that he was excited to work with Dak Prescott and that what Dak has done so far is very impressive. He noted that he’s watched Dak from afar and recalled Dak’s rookie year when his Packers hosted the Cowboys. He said you’re going to be able to run the whole offense with him and then some.

He also added that the team’s offensive system will be built around making the quarterback successful.

How will you use Ezekiel Elliott and the importance of special teams

Coach said Zeke is going to get the football, you have to understand that. An offense that makes a QB successful has a great run game. He noted that they understand what they have in Zeke. As for special teams, he has done evaluations and that it will be a priority.

Being away from the game

McCarthy joked that his daughters wanted to go somewhere warm but that the year away was good for him and his family. He did lightly say that everyone is ready for things to get back to normal and joked that if his players listen to him the way that his daughters do then we’re all in trouble.

Base defense

McCarthy was asked what sort of base defense the Cowboys might run under him and he noted that this was not necessarily the time to get into that but that they will when they announce their full staff.

Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones noted that while he hadn’t spent a lot of time with Mike McCarthy that he felt like he knew him from visiting with other people. He said that the Cowboys felt like they knew him before he walked in the door due to a bunch of mutual friends.

Dez catch

Mike McCarthy was playfully asked about the 2014 Divisional Round and whether or not Dez Bryant caught it. He laughed and then noted that he actually asked Gene Steratore about the rule before he challenged it and only did because of the answer that he got.

He said it was a great catch... now, it wasn’t back then... technically.

McCarthy’s success against the Cowboys

Jerry Jones said, he specified that it was tongue in cheek, that the successes Mike has had against the Cowboys was influential. He joked about McCarthy asking about the Dez catch but then seriously noted that the Cowboys have seen up and close and personal what McCarthy is able to do.

The next step is reaching out

McCarthy said the next step is meeting with the players and that he will start meeting with people on staff.

Picking the staff

McCarthy noted that there has been a lot of input in the staff from a number of people in the organization and that the Cowboys have done a great job in the recruiting area and with contracts. Jerry Jones added that they wanted McCarthy to pick his own staff.

Needing to get back into football

During The McCarthy Project, McCarthy told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that he needed to get back into football. He explained this a bit on Wednesday and joked about whether you want to coach sixth grade volleyball or the Dallas Cowboys. He explained that it really gives you a chance to evaluate where you are, what you have left, and that he believes he was put on this earth to coach a football franchise.

Jerry on Jason Garrett

Jerry Jones explains that in the 30 years that he has been affiliated with the Cowboys that he has written a check to a Garrett family member in all but two. He explained that we measure things by how we win and compete and that we really should do that. But he added that he’s had a great 30 years around the Garrett family and that it was wonderful and produced great feelings. He added that he respects what Jason Garrett brought to the Cowboys and that they all wanted it to have a very nice and soft landing. He said that basically with all deference Jason was talking about what a great guy Mike McCarthy is and that the Cowboys would greatly enjoy visiting with him.

End of McCarthy’s Green Bay tenure

McCarthy noted that the Packers didn’t win enough games through the end of his tenure with the Packers and that he’s gone through the why of that all to try and apply that experience moving forward.

He noted that he’s been able to watch the Packers this past season to see how they’ve changed and what they’ve been able to do with that program. He also added that he feels like he took vantage of the past year to try and do that.

Impressions of Kellen Moore’s offense

Asked what he thought of Kellen Moore’s offense last season, McCarthy said that he felt he did an excellent job. He noted that what Moore did with the offense was very impressive and that the numbers speak for themselves.

Who will call the plays

McCarthy wasn’t getting too much into specifics of how the staff is going to work, but he did note that things will be similar to how they have been under him in years prior.

We decisions

Mike McCarthy noted that the Cowboys are going to make “we” decisions as far as himself and Jerry Jones (he was the first person to answer the question about this by the way, says something interesting that Jerry didn’t jump in first).