Mike McCarthy Hints How He’ll Call Plays Differently Than Kellen Moore

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mike mccarthy

Mike McCarthy believes new voices making decisions offensively will help Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys reach new heights.

McCarthy talked to reporters Wednesday at the NFL Combine and most questions revolved around the offense. With former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore out after assuming the role for four seasons, there’s lots of curiosity about what has changed.

But McCarthy said the concepts laid out by Moore aren’t going anywhere, according to ESPN. The head coach said about 30% to 35% of the offense will be different from last season, but the terminology installed by Moore when he started as OC in 2019 won’t change.

New Challenges Ahead For Dak And The Coaching Staff

McCarthy expressed Dak’s willingness to take on the challenge of working with new offensive coaches. That includes McCarthy, who will be the first Cowboys coach to call plays since Jason Garrett did so in 2012.

Here’s what Mike had to say, per ESPN:

“We all can use a sense of motivation and challenge and so forth. This is a new challenge for [Dak]. These are his words: He’s very excited about it and I just think, like anything, he’s had a chance to go from the different variations of the offense that was in place. He’s getting ready to take another turn as far as a variation of what we’re getting ready to do. We’re going to build it off what he has established.”

The coaching staff is already hard at work preparing the new offensive game plan. McCarthy flew to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday morning, and was back in Big D the same day to continue grinding away with coaches.

In fact, most of the offensive staff, including new OC Brian Schottenheimer, will be staying at the team’s practice facility in Frisco to keep laying groundwork for the offense. The coaches will virtually interview NFL Draft prospects.

McCarthy Wants To Run The Damn Ball

Mike said fans can expect to see more handoffs to Cowboys RBs (whoever they may be next season). The coach was happy with the offensive balance last season, but wants to take it a step further in 2023.

McCarthy seems to understand why Moore leaned on the passing game so much in 2022. But he believes having the head coach call plays brings a more team-oriented mindset. Here’s what he told ESPN:

“Kellen wants to light the scoreboard up, but I want to run the damn ball so I can rest my defense. I think when you’re a coordinator, you’re in charge of the offense. Being a head coach and being a playcaller, you’re a little more in tune with [everything].”

“I don’t have the desire to be the number one offense in the league. I want to be the number one team in the league with a number of wins and a championship. And if we’ve got to give up some production and take care of the ball better to get that, then that’s what we’ll do, because we have a really good defense.”

McCarthy said to win a championship, a QB must be capable of throwing the ball 45 times a game. But that doesn’t mean it needs to happen on a weekly basis.

His urge to run the ball more isn’t stemming from a desire to bring back old school football. Rather, he believes a focus on establishing the rushing attack will lessen the risk of turnovers and increase Dallas’ time of possession.

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