The Dallas Cowboys certainly played better against the Philadelphia Eagles, but it wasn’t enough for a victory. Mike McCarthy discuses the game and what the Cowboys will do going forward as they prepare for the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. (All answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes).
Expectations for the second half of the season
Coach thinks they need to develop some higher standards of performance and consistency to achieve what they want which is win football games. He noted it’s a big challenge with the Steelers coming to town.
McCarthy noted that Chidobe Awuzie was not quite ready last week but added that he is hopeful that Chido will be ready to go this week. He added that he did not have any injuries to announce following Sunday’s game in Philadelphia.
He also noted that Andy Dalton has not officially cleared concussion protocol yet.
Loss of Dak Prescott
McCarthy talked about how losing your starting quarterback is undoubtedly going to impact what you are able to do but that all of the injuries that the Cowboys are dealing with as a whole have had a gigantic effect as well. He said specifically the injuries on the offensive line has hurt.
Defensive line took a step in the right direction
McCarthy was asked about Randy Gregory and said that he thought the Cowboys defensive line showed progress. He noted they wanted to give Randy north of 25 snaps and that he was excited about his first real opportunity. He thought that the pressure and activity of the line was much better in the game, but that the run defense still needs improvement.
Yards per attempt on passes down
McCarthy reiterated that personnel is different which impacts the way that they play. He noted that protection challenges each week play into the game plan.
McCarthy was asked if he has given any thought to taking over the offensive play-calling. He emphatically said no.
Ezekiel Elliott performance so far this year
McCarthy noted that the running back has had some challenges. He noted the fumbles that Elliott has had and said that he believes he is dealing with a constantly changing offensive line well but that he is making adjustments.
The General hardly played in his season debut and McCarthy noted that there was a plan to ease him in. He noted the ideal snap count for him was 10-12 (Lee played four snaps).
McCarthy particularly commended Tyler for dealing with the number of quarterbacks that the Cowboys have dealt with. He noted that the fumble that went for a touchdown was something that Dallas felt was more of an offsides situation, but he reiterated that Tyler has managed to play fairly well. He said the biggest thing that is challenging for him is the different cadences with three different QBs, but that he is doing well with reading schemes and making the correct declarations.
New DT Eli Aknou
Coach commented that the newest addition to the Cowboys was someone who could really set an anchor and should help their style of run defense. He said they will first see him on Thursday at practice.
The NFL’s trade deadline is on Tuesday, but Mike McCarthy said he doesn’t think there is anything brewing for the Cowboys. He noted that nothing surprises you in the NFL, but that the focus is on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Playing Zack Martin at tackle
Coach was very emphatic about not moving players around on the offensive line and called it fantasy football. He is a big believer in continuity on the line, especially when they have a bunch of young players like they do right now.
McCarthy said he is taking advantage of his opportunities and that this last game was his best to date, that he graded out the highest he has this year. He particularly noted his strip sack as an impact play.
The obvious conversation
Asked if the NFC East is a subject of conversation, McCarthy noted that all of the team’s energy is being put into winning their third game. He noted there are a number of things that they want to improve on and that they have to in order to get the wins that they need.