The Dallas Cowboys will hold their first official practice of 2021 training camp this afternoon. Before that momentous event takes place, head coach Mike McCarthy addressed the press and updated everyone on the current state of things in Cowboys Nation. (All answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes).
Mike McCarthy confirmed the players that were reported to start camp on the PUP list (DeMarcus Lawrence, Amari Cooper, Greg Zuerlein, Trystan Hill, Chauncey Golston, Mitch Hyatt). He noted that he does not have any long-term concerns with any of them.
He went on to add that DeMarcus Lawrence and Greg Zuerlein each had a postseason surgery. He specified that Lawrence’s surgery was a back surgery, but that it was more of a cleanup and he looks great. With Zuerlein out, Hunter Niswander will handle all kicking duties.
McCarthy added that there are no concerns when it comes to Amari Cooper, although he declined to get into the specifics of anything.
McCarthy said the timing of Hill’s injury and “so forth” were part of what is happening with him, but he did say that the defensive tackle is right on schedule.
Ezekiel Elliott expectations
Coach said that Zeke just needs to be himself, he acknowledged the numbers last year compared to previous years, but that he’s not worried about Zeke’s production and that will come. He said Zeke is a natural leader and he does so much more than just run the football for this team. He said Zeke is attending the QB meetings to get in tune with the checks/alerts and the communication that goes on at the line of scrimmage.
Expectations for Dak Prescott at camp
McCarthy said he just wants Prescott to get through full practices and knock off some of the rust. He wants him to get through the pain-free moments and noted he looks great and he has a lot of bounce in his step already at camp.
The Dallas Cowboys are expected to see Blake Jarwin back at practice which is a very good thing. McCarthy was asked about the utilization of 11 personnel and who would get the nod between Blake and Dalton Schultz. He noted that you have to have all of your players available because unfortunately injuries happen.
Asked about the utilization of Tony Pollard, McCarthy noted that the ability to have a number of players who can do different things (like play wide receiver) is valuable. He said that at the end of the day the offense is built around making the quarterback successful. He wants to establish the run then have play-action off of that. That will lead to them getting matchups that they want and they want their QBs to play fast and be able to utilize different players in the same concepts.
The experience of Dan Quinn
Coach said Quinn has been a coach for a long time and said he also benefits from his time in college football. He noted that it helps him be a teacher, and pointed to the example that he spent 10 minutes in a meeting yesterday teaching players how to take proper notes. He also talked about Joe Philbin being a teacher and how they help the young players.
Offensive line workload
Asked about the workload for injured offensive linemen from last year like Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, McCarthy intimated that they would go though the normal workload and practice with the 1’s. He commented on the practice structure and how it is set up now, that it shouldn’t be a stress factor on those players.