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Mike McCarthy press conference: Aldon Smith is returning to practice, Donovan Wilson expected to miss it

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy speaks.

NFL: Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys are prepping for the Ravens and head coach Mike McCarthy spoke with the press. Here is what he had to say. (All answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes).


Aldon Smith is back

It was a bit of an absent week early on for Aldon Smith who was battling an illness. McCarthy noted that he expects Aldon to return to practice on Saturday.

A very weird calendar

The Cowboys have experienced time in a weird way as far as normal NFL routines are concerned. McCarthy noted that it has definitely been strange and that the team has focused on naming days by objectives so as to avoid any mild confusion or discomfort that these times may cause.

Yards per attempt

McCarthy noted that at one point in his career he didn’t give as much merit to statistics and talked about how valuable they are and the information that can be derived from it. He noted that yards per attempt is rather indicative of a lot of things and that it is something you have to be mindful of, but feels that stats combined tell more of the story, not just one stat.

Milestone statistics

Asked if there are particular statistics that invoke milestones or checkpoints of sorts the head coach noted that of course there are and that the ones he uses most this time of year are comparables. He noted comparing Baltimore’s defense with the Cowboys offense and how it can in one way be looked at as a preview for the week. He added that when you start game-planning you can see how numbers are arrived at and how everything is part of understanding your opponent and how your opponent views you.

Donovan Wilson

McCarthy said that safety Donovan Wilson will not do much on Saturday. He added that Wilson was hurt in the game on Thanksgiving Day against Washington.

Therapeutic Tuesday

Asked how therapeutic it will be for the Cowboys to finally play on Tuesday, the head coach said it will certainly be great to get back to work. He noted the tragedy that the team has been processing, the pandemic that has been ongoing, and said that it will feel good to get back to work in a game.

Prep for Cincinnati

The Cowboys have been on an inordinately long week in getting ready for the Baltimore Ravens and their pre-planned prep time for their game next week against the Cincinnati Bengals has been disrupted with the schedule change. McCarthy noted that the staff began prep for Cincinnati on Friday night to a degree which obviously lines up with when the Cowboys would have originally been able to do so if the Baltimore game had happen when it was first supposed to.

Differences from training camp

McCarthy noted that the Cowboys are a very different group than the one that originally got together for the 2020 season. He referenced the 2011 season when he was with the Green Bay Packers and how the team was coming off of the lockout offseason as a similar sort of experience.

Connor Williams

The Cowboys have used 15 unique offensive line combinations and the one constant that has remained throughout it all has been Connor Williams. McCarthy praised the third-year guard and said that consistency like that is extremely valuable. He said the ability to show up every day with the same work ethic and then performance is extremely valuable.

Dak Prescott

The Cowboys quarterback was spotted at practice on Friday, but when asked if Dak Prescott will head to Baltimore with the team Mike McCarthy said no.

Next Thursday and Friday

The NFL has enhanced protocols with regards to team facilities being closed on the Monday and Tuesday following a game. Obviously the Cowboys play on Tuesday this coming week. McCarthy noted that as the Cowboys are on a short week playing on Tuesday and then next Sunday that his understanding is that the team is able to be in the building next Thursday and Friday.