Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media today. After yesterday’s practice that saw almost everyone participate, we heard how the players returning from injury fared. (All answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes).
Awuzie, Woods and Cooper looked good in yesterday’s practice
Coach McCarthy said that he felt good about the work that Chidobe Awuzie, Amari Cooper, and Xavier Woods all got in Wednesday’s practice. He said they will keep monitoring the situation but that they are on track to play at full capacity and everything was positive.
What the team needs to see from Brandon Carr
Obviously Brandon Carr is a bit of a unique factor for the Cowboys which means that handling him is different than other players. McCarthy noted they have to figure out where he is in his personal conditioning, but that he came in in excellent shape, and they are interested to see how much more he can handle on Thursday.
Coach McCarthy noted that Friday will be a “regeneration day.” He said there will be an extensive walkthrough that they refer to as a mock game and that there will be segments for each side of the ball. He also noted that at noon there is soft tissue activation acceleration, a program that was put together by the trainers and strength staff. He noted the team did this throughout training camp and that it gives the players a chance to recover from the week. He added that Saturday there will be a one-hour practice.
He believes that this plan helps keep in-season soft tissue injuries down and that players have told him it keeps them in peak physical condition for the latter half of the season and into the playoffs.
Training method has evolved
Mike McCarthy noted that he believes athletes in 2020 are far more able to train at a high level because of the resources that are available. He said that things aren’t necessarily better but that there is so much more information and that collaboration between player and strength and conditioning staffs are very important to make sure that not too much is being done. He noted that over-training is a challenge occurring across the NFL.
Turnover ratio speaks to winning
Many people have been wanting to see the Cowboys generate more turnovers. McCarthy noted that you have to develop the fine motor skills to take the ball away but that you also have to hold onto it when it’s yours. He noted that this will be a key component to their success and that they practice it.
Right tackle situation
McCarthy was asked about what was happening at right tackle and joked that he didn’t want to respond with anything. He said they are working with Cam Erving and will see what different combinations look like. He said they will have at least eight linemen up on Sunday.
Coach said he’s a tremendous player with the skill-set and measurables you want. He also called him an instinctive player and that he’s still getting better, he’s a shutdown corner.
No fans at the game
There will not be any fans at SoFi Stadium on Sunday night. He noted this will obviously be very different but that they are going to do what they can to compete at a high level.
Every stadium is going to be different
The Cowboys have had simulated crowd noise at different times and McCarthy noted that each stadium is going to vary in terms of noise. He said the team may have to go to a silent cadence at a certain point but that they are going to have to adapt no matter what.
Freedom for QBs at the line
Coach first said you need to define of freedom in this situation and that everything is built into a system, so the freedom is more about discipline and decision-making. He also said it’s not the QB position you worry about in making changes at the line, it’s the rest of the team that has to be in sync with that change. Coach noted that Dak has lots of experience for his age, he will see things at the line, but you have to practice and coordinate it. The impulse to change things at the line has to be in sync with the other 10 players.
Thoughts on Aaron Donald
Coach McCarthy noted that from the moment that Aaron Donald has entered the NFL that he has been operating at a high level. He called him explosive, instinctive, and said that he has rare closing ability to get to the quarterback. He was very complimentary of Donald and called him one of the better interior defenders that he has seen in his time. He finished by saying they have a plan for him and that he is a focal point.