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Mike McCarthy press conference: Comparing DeMarcus Lawrence to Julius Peppers

The Cowboys head coach took to the podium.

Dallas Cowboys v Detroit Lions Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images

We are beginning the first full week of training camp for the Dallas Cowboys. So many changes have happened all at once concerning America’s Team so trying to keep up with them has kept us all on our toes. Mike McCarthy is instituting his new philosophies, there are new staff members all over the place, and the quarterbacks are wearing red practice jerseys for goodness sake.

Mike McCarthy spoke before practice this morning and here is a nice, compact recap.

A reminder that all answers are paraphrases and not actual quotes.


Practicing indoors for the first time

The Dallas Cowboys will practice with pads for the first time this season on Monday. They will be practicing indoors at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. Coach McCarthy noted that being indoors didn’t exactly have to do anything with being in pads, he noted that the team is playing 10 or so games on astroturf this season so he wanted to be prepared for it.

Using Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard

McCarthy was asked how he plans on using both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard and he, wait for it, said that he didn’t want to talk about how the Cowboys are going to use their players.

He noted that the Cowboys’ only real advantage given the inordinate circumstances in being a new staff is that none of their tendencies are known. He acknowledged that some things aren’t exactly big secrets but said that he wanted to keep things close to the vest.

Zeke has been impressive

Coach noted that everything Zeke has done to this point has been impressive. He called him an intelligent football player and said that he is without question part of the leadership group as he views it.

Quarterback School

The head coach was asked about the quarterback drills that the team has been doing. He noted that generally in any football practice, at any level, position groups have the ability to work with one another on their position-specific drills. He talked about how this is the Cowboys making sure that happens since quarterbacks are always working with other positions and don’t always have time for their own drills.

Lack of big Ezekiel Elliott plays last season

McCarthy was asked what he would put the lack of big plays from Ezekiel Elliott last year on. He noted that he is not concerned with that and that the player he has seen on film is excellent and able to work inside or outside.

DeMarcus Lawrence standing up

The Dallas Cowboys using more 3-4 looks has been discussed at length and obviously that would change the way that someone like DeMarcus Lawrence is used. Mike McCarthy chimed in with his thoughts on the matter.

“I’ve had a chance to watch just a couple of guys in my career go through that transition and the one that I think of right off the bat is Julius Peppers. When you’re primarily playing in a four-man front, and really, Julius was in the same defense. He played for Rod there in Chicago when he came up to Green Bay. The opportunity to particularly play in a two-point stance on first and second down, especially someone with DLaw’s experience, and his instinct and awareness at the line of scrimmage, it’ll give him more vision to the tendencies and the mannerisms of the offense. I think he’s going to really like it. But still at the end of the day if it’s best-suited for him to put his hand on the ground in a pass rush situation, then hat’s what we’ll do. I know just watching Julius go through it, he liked it, he enjoyed it because it gave him a chance to really tap into his years of experience playing with more vision and it was primarily more in the first and second down. Because when it came down to the hit it and get it in the pass rush, he would go to a three-point stance. But we’ll work through that with DLaw and I think he’ll really benefit from this.”

Tyrone Crawford looks good

One of the pass rushers that has been around the team the longest is Tyrone Crawford. McCarthy noted that Crawford has what he’s looking for and that the football season is a long year and they are going to need everybody.

What Jaylon Smith is doing plays well to his skillset

McCarthy also gave some props to Jaylon Smith and noted that Smith has some freedom to run to the football at this point. He said he believes Smith is in the position that is best for him.

Why was Gerald McCoy a priority?

Gerald McCoy was the first free agent that the Cowboys acquired and Mike McCarthy gave his new defensive tackle a lot of praise. He noted that McCoy looks to be in great shape and that he would really love for him to be a “force inside.”