The Cowboys didn't get the win on Sunday, but they looked much better as a team than they have in a while. Coach Mike McCarthy met with the press to talk about the loss and what is happening in the future as the team heads into a bye week. (All answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes).
Feeling the team is more competitive now
Coach thinks teams are always up and down and early in the season they are trying to get over certain thresholds like play speed and style. Offensively they got there quicker than defense. Coach noted they had some productive days offensively until all the injuries on offense and that has stepped back, but the defense has gained, especially the last few weeks. Coach likes where the defense and special teams are but thought they can get better. He thinks they still need to find their stride on offense.
“Fair and accurate” to say that Andy Dalton will remain starter
Stephen Jones said on Monday that Andy Dalton, when healthy, will remain the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Mike McCarthy said that he felt that was a “fair and accurate” statement but that he didn’t want to take away from anything that Garrett Gilbert did. He said he was hopeful Dalton could pick up where he left off.
Steelers with a positive Covid-19 test
It was reported on Monday that Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald tested positive for Covid-19. Mike McCarthy noted that the Cowboys have been instructed to follow more protocols and are having virtual meetings to comply with that. He added that there will not be practice on Wednesday, and he later added that this was a result of the protocols put in place not the bye week.
McCarthy said that both running backs played well on Sunday and both of them broke tackles, and he added that he likes the mix that Dallas has going at the moment.
McCarthy was asked for an update Diggs’ injury and said that an additional test was still being run so he had no update.
Vote of confidence from Stephen Jones
McCarthy noted that it is obviously nice to have that and that he is focused on improving each and every week and trying to get done what the team is capable of getting done this season.
Coach McCarthy said that Randy has unique strength and power and that it is starting to show up. He said he is still getting back into it but that he had an impactful game.
Why the defense is playing better
McCarthy noted that the players aren’t having to think as much and they are playing faster. He noted they had cut own on the volume of defensive calls and that the players are responding. He also commented on the staff coming together more now and that they made some good in-game adjustments against the Steelers.
Coach noted he had an impactful game and that he was a good example of a player who is not thinking as much and is playing faster. He called Gallimore extremely physical on Sunday.
The penalties on Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch late in the game
Coach didn’t comment on the penalties specifically but he noted they grade the tape and grade the players. He said they had seven penalties on defense and it impacted the game. He finished by saying they had looked at them and had their grading sessions with the players.
McCarthy heralded quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier for handling all the change at quarterback the way that he has. McCarthy also gave props to Kellen Moore in the same regard.
While Dalton is also coming off of a concussion suffered against Washington he was also placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 list last week. Mike McCarthy said that he did not have an update on Dalton with regards to Covid at this time.