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Mike McCarthy press conference: Pass protection has to improve, Cam Erving likely out 4 to 6 weeks

The Cowboys coach took to the mic as the team moves on from the Sunday night loss.

NFL Combine - Day 2 Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Cowboys sit with an 0-1 record after a loss to the Rams. Head coach Mike McCarthy held a press conference to discuss any remaining questions from that game, and to look ahead to this Sunday against the Falcons. (All answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes)


One score games

The Dallas Cowboys struggled in one-score games last season, but obviously things are very different here in 2020 in terms of the composition of the coaching staff.

Mike McCarthy noted that like anything there are trends and numbers that you have to take a look at. He said that when you look at a lot of losses by three points you can view it as a negative, but that it also lets you know you are in games.

He said he is looking for consistency and to improve the team’s standard of play throughout it all. He noted you have to look at the whys and the specifics of each and every game. He added that there were so many different factors associated with this year opposed to last year and that he doesn’t think this is a trend.

How helpful is it to have tape on both the Cowboys and Falcons?

All NFL teams entered Week 1 without any tape on opponents as there was no preseason this year. McCarthy noted that the Cowboys had some uphill looks early in the game but that things are really no different in this sense. He added that new coordinators and different things make for different results but that at the end of the day, schematically you want to be in favorable leverage situations.

Dak under too much duress

McCarthy noted the Cowboys were under a lot of duress as a protection unit against Los Angeles. He said that down and distance tendencies will be looked at and that he thinks it’s just a product of not being in sync. He added that this was not to just one segment of the football team but every component of their game on Sunday and that he feels timing will be better this week.

He also commented in a follow up question that things like pass protection, route running and gap integrity are things they discussed on Monday and went over again in today’s team meeting. They will tie that into the game plan installation today.

How did CeeDee Lamb handle things after his first NFL game?

McCarthy said that the Cowboys got back from Los Angeles about 3:30 in the morning on Monday morning and had everybody in the building at about 11:00am. He said that he couldn’t necessarily speak to anybody specifically but that CeeDee has shown very good maturity. He said that he was probably disappointed in the way that his first game went but that he should only get better as they move forward.

Thoughts on fans being in the stands

The Cowboys are slated to have fans in the stands (the exact amount remains up in the air) on Sunday against the Falcons. McCarthy noted that he knew that SoFi Stadium would be empty but didn’t anticipate it being that quiet. Obviously this is a situation that every team is handling as we go along week by week and that having some fans as opposed to none will surely be different. He did mention 25% capacity in talking about AT&T Stadium, for what it’s worth.

Cowboys are ready for Atlanta

McCarthy noted that the team is past the point of any sort of hangover and has moved on to the Atlanta Falcons.

No notes to players families

Asked if he is telling the players’ families to stay away, McCarthy said that he isn’t doing any instruction of any kind there. He mentioned 25% capacity again and said that whatever the allowed volume is is what it is.

Zeke in pass protection

Coach noted that the mental is the first challenge for running backs in pass pro. Said that you can’t play with instinct and awareness without that. Then comes the physical part, that’s a natural threshold at this level of football. Coach complimented Zeke on this part of his game saying he is excellent in pass pro. Also noted the Zeke picked up Donald in the A-gap on one play and saved the pocket.

A different edge?

McCarthy was asked if there is a different edge of sorts going into Week 2 with an 0-1 record. He noted that urgency is always high and that it is of course magnified any time that you lose. He said that the Cowboys are excited to play their first home game.

How did Dak Prescott play?

Coach thought he played well and did a number of good things. He said Dak showed great command and communication and had good pocket awareness. He also displayed ball security and kept the team in good, clean plays at the line of scrimmage.

Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley

McCarthy noted their ability to make big plays, and that the Falcons had 400+ yards passing last week. He observed that they push the ball up top and that is the complete opposite of what the Rams did. He called Jones and Ridley the keys to their big-play offense.

How did the secondary grade out

Coach thought it was a solid performance in the Rams game and that there were things they can build off. He focused on the one turnover and almost getting another and said that turnover ratio is their primary game goal next to winning.

Cam Erving injury timeline

Mike McCarthy noted that the timeline for Cam Erving, who is on injured reserve, is 4-6 weeks.