The Dallas Cowboys have some decisions to make, especially around their quarterback, as they prepare to play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Coach Mike McCarthy updated everyone on the preparations that the team has taken so far this week.
(All answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes).
Ezekiel Elliott will remain limited
The Cowboys top running back appeared on Wednesday’s injury report as a limited participant with a hamstring injury. Mike McCarthy noted that he will be limited again on Thursday, as will Aldon Smith, but that he isn’t all too concerned about either player.
Mike McCarthy grew up in the Pittsburgh area which is a story that was well-chronicled when his Green Bay Packers faced the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. He noted that he was a fan of all Pittsburgh teams growing up and that his favorite Steeler was Jack Lambert. He also said that his family wouldn’t be experiencing any conflict this week with the Cowboys hosting their longtime rivals.
McCarthy added that he remembered Jackie Smith’s drop in Super Bowl XIII and reflected fondly upon his memories growing up.
The General also happens to be from Pennsylvania and McCarthy noted that he carries the vibe associated with that part of the country.
Getting quarterbacks ready
The Cowboys will start either Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush at quarterback on Sunday. McCarthy declined again to note which of the two would get the nod but said that it would be important to have them both ready.
McCarthy noted that Chidobe Awuzie practiced on Wednesday and also did some post-practice work. He said that Thursday would be a big day for him and would likely give the team the information that they are looking for.
The Cowboys will be without punter Chris Jones for a few weeks which means that they will also have to find a new holder for kicks. McCarthy noted that Ben DiNucci is part of the equation there and that they would find an answer.
Obviously Ben DiNucci experienced quite the ride in leading up to last week’s game. McCarthy noted that he has been in communication with Ben in discussing where things are at. He noted that Ben has stayed on point in spite of the circumstances, but that he is not the only player that McCarthy is watching.
Highs and lows
McCarthy noted that losing is more difficult the longer that you are in the NFL so that for younger players, like CeeDee Lamb as an example, learning that lesson early on can be valuable. He talked about how consistent CeeDee is with his work in the classroom and on the practice field. He said that he would categorize CeeDee as very high in terms of maturity and that this quality serves him well.
Dealing with Steelers fans
The Cowboys are playing at home on Sunday, but Pittsburgh Steelers fans are regarded for traveling rather well. McCarthy noted that they practice with crowd noise every day and that he understands that there may be a lot of Steelers fans in attendance this week, but that he does not foresee that being a huge challenge.