Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy held his final press conference of the 2022 season this afternoon.
McCarthy holds such a press conference after the conclusion of each season. This time, though, the timing felt like a response to announcements made earlier today.
MCCARTHY ON HIS COACHING STAFF
Earlier today, McCarthy released an announcement confirming the departures of six different assistants.
There was an expectation that the head coach would share more about the reasons behind those changes in this press conference. There was also interest in what else might be coming down the pipeline for the Dallas Cowboys.
Early in the press conference, however, McCarthy made it clear that he wasn’t interested in discussing hypotheticals.
In response to a question about play calling in the event that Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore leaves the organization, McCarthy responded, “I really don’t want to play this game, today.”
The “game” he was referring to was the media’s way of reframing questions or asking adjacent questions in order to siphon off information that may be used to draw publishable conclusions.
That question wasn’t the first time Kellen Moore’s future with the organization has been brought into question.
Prior to that particular question, Mike McCarthy had already addressed where he was in handling the futures of Dan Quinn, Kellen Moore, and other coaches. McCarthy says he is only on the second day of coaching evaluations. He spoke to Dan Quinn earlier today and will speak with Kellen Moore tomorrow.
McCarthy did not share how long he expects the process to take, but he admitted that his process may take a bit longer than some might like.
He also suggested that not every vacant position will necessarily be filled.
“A LOT OF DIFFERENT VARIABLES WENT INTO THIS DECISION, OBVIOUSLY THE NUMBER OF COACHES,” HE SAID, “THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WAS REALLY BEING DISCUSSED AS EARLY AS LAST YEAR AND HAS MORE TO DO WITH DEFINITION AND DESIGN OF YOUR STAFF, PHILOSOPHICAL BELIEFS, ECONOMIC STRUCTURE, ALL THOSE THINGS THAT GO INTO IT… THIS WAS MORE ABOUT CHANGE THAT WE FELT NEEDED TO HAPPEN. IT’S NOT AS PERFORMANCE BASED AS WE LIKE TO TIE EVERYTHING, BUT THERE IS A COMPONENT OF THAT, TOO.”
What we do know is that there is a possibility for more coaching changes and announcements.
“Every coach including myself is being evaluated,” McCarthy explained.
MCCARTHY ON HIS PLAYERS
Mike McCarthy also responded to a couple of questions about Dak Prescott. He did so without giving much insight into his honest personal evaluation of the quarterback.
When he was asked about what his staff might do to reduce interceptions, McCarthy’s answers focused on the Cowboys’ high-scoring offense and the goal of maintaining a completion rate of at least 70 percent.
When McCarthy was asked how Prescott would get over the proverbial playoff hump, Mike McCarthy went into an explanation of how he expects the 2nd year players on his roster to show vast improvement going into their third seasons.
It was clear that McCarthy was not interested in dissecting Dak’s game during a press conference.
Another question came up about Dak – how to return him to his 2016 form.
MM's response focused on Dak's productivity this season.
He is not about to spontaneously and publicly criticize his QB in a press conference.
I can't be too mad. Someone should have Dak's back right now
— Bitches Love Sports Podcast (@BtchesLuvSports) January 26, 2023
Early in the press conference, McCarthy commented on how much the culture of the locker room matters to players.
The team’s response to the locker room culture, he says, is unprecedented.
“IN 17 YEARS, I’VE NEVER SEEN A GROUP TALK ABOUT THE LOCKER ROOM THE WAY THIS TEAM TALKS ABOUT THE CONNECTION THEY HAVE,” HE SAID.
This is a source of pride for McCarthy.
He explained that it took a lot of work to establish the culture and that culture provides a great foundation for success moving forward.
EMPHASIZING THE POSITIVES
Overall, the philosophy moving forward can be summed up in the same way McCarthy’s demeanor today can be described — with an emphasis on the positive.
At one point, McCarthy even explained this himself.
“HOW ARE WE GOING TO MOVE FORWARD? THERE’S GONNA BE CHANGE. THERE’S GONNA BE ADJUSTMENTS. WE’VE GOT A WHOLE LOT OF POSITIVES TO EMPHASIZE,” HE SAID.
One positive many fans are celebrating is the announced return of Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys.
Just after McCarthy’s press conference ended, it was announced that Quinn would be back for the 2023 season.