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Mike McCarthy press conference: Randy Gregory could be a premier player in the Cowboys defense this year

The Cowboys head coach updated everyone on the state of the team.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy stepped to the microphone to update the media and the masses about the goings-on at the Star. The team is in the midst of preparing for the 2021 season as the OTA segment of the offseason is currently happening. Below is a paraphrased transcript of the Q& A session.

Difference in today and minicamp

Asked about the difference between what is happening in OTAs and the minicamp, Mike McCarthy noted that the only real one is that minicamp is mandatory. He added they will have more post-practice structured meetings after minicamp practices.

Thoughts on Randy Gregory

Mike McCarthy was asked for his thoughts on Randy Gregory benefitting from what is happening this offseason and was even told that this could be the first instance in which Gregory has had offeseason work since his rookie season. McCarthy noted that it is definitely very important for Gregory’s development and that it has helped him immensely. He commented they are working on cleaning up details of how to play in the scheme and the pass-rush game, and that the biggest thing was getting their communication down.

McCarthy added that when it comes to personal evaluations he gave Gregory two arrows pointing up last season. He noted that Gregory hasn’t had a standard path as an NFL player and that his path last year was one that continued to rise with every opportunity that he had. Looking back on the season, coach said there is an understandable question of why he didn’t play more in the games he was available for and McCarthy thinks he could be a premier defensive player this year.

Having communication back

Teaching opportunities are seemingly more available this offseason with things closer to normal than they were in 2020. McCarthy said that having the ability to communicate and teach this early in the process is something that was missed last year. He said that he thought near the end of the year that the team’s process was where he needed to be. He noted that he doesn’t even like to talk about last year because he feels like it is a “terrible comparable” and said that he has been comparing things to his past experiences that are more normal than usual.

Oxnard “plans”

McCarthy noted that he is planning for the Cowboys to be in Oxnard for training camp and that he has spoken to Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay about practicing together, however, he noted that things still are not official as the team has to receive approval from the NFL for holding training camp somewhere other than their facility.

The addition of Ben McAdoo

Recently the Cowboys added former New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo as a consultant to their organization. McCarthy said that McAdoo will work primarily with both the offensive and defensive coordinators in pre-game planning. He said that they are still designing the role as things go along in terms of the particulars of McAdoo’s responsibilities. He added that Dan Quinn was particularly excited about McAdoo’s addition because he provides (to Quinn) a perspective from the other side of the ball. McAdoo will be at training camp.

Expectations for Leighton Vander Esch

Asked for his expectations for LVE, McCarthy said the biggest thing is being in great shape because he was coming off injury last year. He said he is preparing for the endurance of a full season and that everything else will take care of itself. He complimented LVE’s top-notch work ethic in preparing, and said that everything is obtainable for LVE.

Thoughts on CeeDee Lamb

2021 is the first full offseason that CeeDee Lamb is having as a professional. McCarthy noted that he has always felt that with a full offseason program that the second-year player benefits the most. He said that “the full nine weeks” allows for a second-year jump. He said that having gone through a full season, having an understanding of things, and going into the second year aids in growth. Ultimately McCarthy noted that he sees Lamb making that jump.

Tony Pollard as a receiver

McCarthy also added that Tony Pollard has been playing some receiver in what the Cowboys have been doing so far. As far as what he looks like, McCarthy said that Pollard looks great and that Dan Quinn is even treating him as a wide receiver which the head coach added was in indication of how solid Pollard is playing there. He also said it’s a combination of having some receivers out and trying to get Pollard the reps in those situations. He called Pollard an exceptional athlete and said he looks comfortable out there.

Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are back

Asked about the return of the team’s top two tackles McCarthy said that both Tyron Smith and La’el Collins look great. He noted that Smith is smiling more than he ever has because he is pain-free. He also noted that Collins is a big man who can run and the two certainly change the line.

Zack Martin

McCarthy noted that Martin has had “some little stuff” over recent seasons and that the Cowboys are being smart with him. He noted that Martin is around, leading the team, and that they are just being smart with him when it comes to on-the-field work.

Micah Parsons

Coach was asked about Micah Parsons’ adjustment to the pro game and he gave a pretty standard answer of him doing well and noted he almost picked off a pass on an RPO in the last OTA sessions. He did say that this week they are going to play him on the outside some and blitz him to get a look at him rushing the passer.

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