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Mike McCarthy press conference: Coach talks about Kellen Moore, Andy Dalton and Randy Gregory

The Cowboys head coach speaks.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys are on a roll. Three straight wins has them in contention for a playoff spot heading into Week 17. Head coach Mike McCarthy discussed their recent win and their Week 17 game in a press conference today. (All answer are paraphrased and not actual quotes).


Overcoming the season’s obstacles

Mike McCarthy talked about how adversity has not been of short order for the 2020 Cowboys and that he is very happy for the football team that they have been able to even get to this point. He spoke about how they deserve this success and they are feeding off the message where adversity and obstacles are paid forward. He noted they have endured a lot and they still have an opportunity ahead.

Takeaways from the team

Asked if he was more impressed by the team’s resiliency or if this is the expectation for the Cowboys, McCarthy noted that it is sort of a combination of both. He noted that you are always trying to reach the standard and uphold the standard. He noted that he is proud of the Cowboys and that they show up every day, work hard, and that they haven’t really had a whole lot of nonsense that would pull away from why they are all there.

Kellen Moore and Boise State

There is talk about Kellen Moore potentially leaving the Cowboys to become the next head coach at Boise State. Asked if he thinks this will be an issue for Moore preparing for the New York Giants, McCarthy said he has already said his piece on the matter but that Moore had a great week of preparation last week and called a good game.

Ezekiel Elliott

McCarthy was asked about Zeke’s big day against the Eagles and noted that there was no doubt that the week off went a long way towards helping him. He said the running back position is demanding and the rest was beneficial.

Recovering fumbles

Asked about Randy Gregory forcing three fumbles on Sunday, McCarthy noted it was a great performance. He talked about how doing something like this is an impressive performance and that it is what you are looking for. He noted that striking the ball and getting it loose is a fine-motor skill and must be practiced.

Looking back

Asked if there was anything he looks back and wishes he would have done differently, McCarthy said he didn’t think so. He noted that you have an expectation of what you think things are going to look like but that he thinks it is all an illustration of how important time together as a team is.

Benefit to crowd noise

The Cowboys have had more fans than any other NFL team in this challenging year of 2020. Mike McCarthy said he believes this has definitely been a factor and that the noise associated with the crowd provides a different vibe for the Cowboys players than empty stadiums they have played in.

Thoughts on Andy Dalton

McCarthy challenged people to watch the way that Dalton operates and noted that the way he prepares has been great for the team’s younger quarterbacks. He said there is no doubt that Andy Dalton can be a starter in the NFL and that he’s done a great job so far this season.

C.J. Goodwin on defense

The Cowboys were able to get Goodwin in on defense in a sub-package. McCarthy noted this was something they wanted to do and that Goodwin had earned it. He said they hold Goodwin in high regard.

Amari Cooper

McCarthy noted that in his experience with the team that Amari has an ability to chip away at defenses before he ultimately breaks away. He said he is a receiver that has all of the tools, he can play inside or outside and is consistent and explosive. He noted Cooper should finish with 90+ catches and over 1,000 yards and that is a workload.

Things gelling between coordinator and quarterback

McCarthy noted that he agrees that things are starting to become more comfortable between Kellen Moore and Andy Dalton and that they have found a groove as of late.

Offensive line

McCarthy noted that there is an obvious truth to the fact that all of the snaps for the Cowboys younger offensive linemen will bode well towards depth in 2021 and beyond. He said ideally you don’t want players to play until they’re ready but that the Cowboys have had to get guys going given everything happening. He cited Terence Steele as a prime example of developing a young player by him getting reps.

1,000 yard seasons

While Amari Cooper has hit quadruple digits Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb haven’t quite yet, although they could with big-time performances on Sunday at New York. McCarthy noted it would obviously be nice of they accomplished this but that the focus is beating the Giants.

Finishing strong

The Cowboys could win on Sunday afternoon and still not know their playoff fate as they will need the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the Washington Football Team on Sunday night. McCarthy noted the goal is to finish strong and that they are going to focus on that, not things they can’t control. He noted the team wants to finish the regular season and that they hopefully have the opportunity to continue.

Zack Martin and Connor Williams

There has been speculation that Zack Martin could return on Sunday against the Giants, but McCarthy played it close to the vest and said things wouldn’t be known until Wednesday. He noted also that Connor Williams seems to be fine and that there is no reason to be concerned as far as he is aware.

A mindset

McCarthy has talked about some of his Green Bay Packers teams were able to finish strong. Asked why that was McCarthy said he believes it’s a mindset and that a lot of it is about how you train. He noted the Cowboys spend a lot of time on that and that he believes a lot in trend lines and trying to hit certain targets because at the end of the day you get hot in December and that’s the way that you want to enter the playoffs.