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Cowboys news: Mike McCarthy wants to forget about 2020 and start winning

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Dallas Cowboys v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

How Dallas Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy wants to put 2020 in the rearview, start winning - Todd Archer, ESPN

Hopefully Dallas’ 2020 season is forgettable and they get back to winning football this year.

In many ways, McCarthy wishes last year did not happen, and as his second season with the Cowboys starts Thursday against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC), few NFL coaches need a fresh start more than him.

Is he still the coach who hoisted his only Lombardi Trophy at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, made four NFC Championship Game appearances, won the NFC North title six times and earned a playoff spot nine times in 13 years with the Green Bay Packers. Or, is he the coach who has a losing record at 17-26-1 in his past three seasons, including a 6-10 finish in Dallas in 2020?

“The privilege of having that pressure is something special. Pressure is a privilege, I’m quoting Billie Jean King,” McCarthy said. “You’ve got to step back because I was out of it for a year. I missed it. I missed that part of it. I missed that angst of what it feels like in your gut ... I mean I say this with respect: We all have a job to do, a purpose in this business: we’re all trying to rob the same runaway train. It’s awesome, the NFL.

“Whether it’s the first nine [years] or the last three, to be honest I think that’s what the NFL is. It’s hard and makes you appreciate some of the things you’ve done, but I think it gives you clarity on the things you need to do better to get to where we all want to go. As long as you have a good plan, a solid plan, you stay true to it. I sleep good at night with that.”

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy: Tom Brady’s ‘longevity’ what’s most impressive - Grant Gordon, NFL.com

Sooner or later TB12’s wheels have to fall off, right!? Maybe September 9 against the Cowboys?

“Well, I think, like anything – a lot of things, about his game – but longevity. It’s difficult to win a championship in this league,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Friday when asked what he appreciated most of Brady’s game. “It’s so difficult to win a Super Bowl and the fact that he’s won seven is just unbelievable. But I think my personal belief, the biggest challenge in this league is to have continued success. To have success and to play at that level for such a long period of time, to me, I think that’s a tremendous quality. And he’s living it and he eats it every day. You can just see just the way he goes about it from what you know, from what you hear about, not only his approach and where he is today, but to be able to do it at such a high level for such a long time, that’s what I’m impressed with.”

At 44, Brady enters his 21st campaign as the reigning Super Bowl Most Valuable Player after captaining the Bucs to a championship win over the Chiefs in February.

Beyond the record-holding seven Super Bowl triumphs mentioned by McCarthy, Brady boasts a 230-69 record as a starter in the regular season. Those 230 wins are also tops in NFL history. He’s recorded double-digit wins as a starter for 12-straight seasons – a streak that could realistically be at 18 years if not for Brady’s 2008 campaign being cut to one game due to injury.

He’s also led 12 consecutive division winners (11 AFC East titles with the Patriots and last year’s NFC South crown with the Bucs).

Rico Dowdle’s injury robs him of opportunity to expand role with Cowboys - Tony Thompson, Cowboys Wire

After an impressive preseason, 2021 will be a “what if” year for Rico Dowdle.

After going undrafted, he chose to sign with the Dallas Cowboys with hopes of making a roster thin behind its two premier players, Elliott and Pollard. He did enough to impress head coach Mike McCarthy and, likely more importantly, special teams coach John Fassel to survive every iteration of roster cuts to make the final 53.

He carved at a role the same way nearly all undrafted free agents do, on special teams and was active in 15 of the team’s games in 2020, playing 44% of the unit’s snaps. It was likely that he would reprise that role heading into the new year, but the injury bug caught him once again.

It’s a tenuous spot, being both undrafted and injured. Those kinds of players are often seen as spare parts. And if they’re not seen, they’re often forgotten. It will be back to square one next offseason, where Dowdle will be fighting for his Dallas career with any number of players who are expendable.

Bold trade predictions before the 2021 season begins - Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report

Should the Dallas Cowboys trade for QB Nick Foles? Is he an upgrade?

Bears Trade Nick Foles to Dallas Cowboys for Sixth-Round Pick

This potential trade is heavily dependent on one player’s health, but these are bold predictions, and we’re starting with perhaps the boldest of them all.

The reality is that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who is returning from a broken ankle and dealing with a throwing-shoulder injury, could be hampered for an extended period of time.

“He’s not fully back. He may not be back all season long,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said during a preseason broadcast (h/t Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk).

The problem is Dallas doesn’t have an experienced veteran as insurance like it did in 2020 when, coincidentally, the Cowboys had current Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton. Dallas has Cooper Rush and recently claimed Will Grier. However, they have just seven games and two starts of regular-season experience between them.

NFL season preview: 10 key storylines with Bucs-Cowboys Week 1 kickoff on deck - Pat Leonard, New York Daily News

Dak is back! Believe it or not, but he’s ready to prove himself in the season opener.

IS DAK REALLY BACK?

Dak Prescott said last week that he’s “ready to go,” but his rehabbed right ankle and his new right shoulder injury have to hold up for Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys to have a chance in the NFC East. Reigning division champ Washington, the Giants and the Eagles all will be watching closely on Thursday to see how Prescott handles the Buccaneers’ pass rush led by Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. Mike McCarthy’s offense could be the class of the division with receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb. But it all hinges on Prescott’s health in Jerry World.

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