FRISCO, Texas – For the first time since the season ended on Sunday, head coach Mike McCarthy met with the media at The Star to discuss a variety of topics.
Here are some of the quick highlights from his press conference.
- McCarthy said he spoke to owner/GM Jerry Jones about his future. "We had a very positive conversation." He said the focus was on the future. Earlier in the week, Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones said he "absolutely" sees McCarthy as the head coach next year.
- When asked about expectations and goals, McCarthy seems to have the belief that 31 teams will fall short of their ultimate goals. As he expressed his disappointment for Sunday's loss to the 49ers, he said "no doubt we did not reach our goal."
- There has been plenty of talk about officiating, especially after being flagged 14 times in Sunday's game. McCarthy said it's the biggest goal of the team. "Our No. 1 focus moving forward is penalties – way too many." McCarthy said pre-snap penalties and holding calls are the two biggest problem areas.
- McCarthy reiterated that "officials don't lose games" but also commented on Dak Prescott's post-game remarks about the fans throwing objects on the field towards officials – something the quarterback apologized for on Tuesday. McCarthy said "people are emotional when it doesn't go your way."
- After another playoff exit, plus the potential losses in the coaching staff and free agents, McCarthy was asked how things will be better in 2022. "We're going to be better through the process." He also said "sustaining success" is the biggest challenge for all teams, but he credited the personnel department for being able to add players in the draft and free agency.
- McCarthy said it's normal to have contingency plans if one or both coordinators leave for other teams. Dan Quinn and Kellen Moore are both interviewing for head coaching jobs this week.
- He also said he doesn't believe he will take over the play-calling, even if Moore exits. "I don't think that's the best way to run it. At the end of the day, the goal is try to keep the foundation for Dak.
- Going back to the 49ers game, McCarthy initially said he thought his team was "nervous" but then retracted that, saying they were probably more anxious. But it was clear (the 49ers) were "cleaner" to start the game than the Cowboys.
- McCarthy said he hasn't watched the final game in detail, working more on player exit interviews. But he did watch the final snap and said there will be some teaching moments that come out from the final play and the Cowboys not getting the snap off. He said the biggest change will probably come down to putting an exact yard-line to go down and not run as far down the field as Dak did.
- Running back Ezekiel Elliott said he played the second half of the season with a partially torn ACL. McCarthy said it was the Carolina game (Week 4) where Zeke first suffered the injury. "He dealt with that all year long. That shows his commitment and his toughness." He said there is no discussion right now for Zeke to have any surgeries.
- McCarthy said rookies Chauncey Golston and Brandon Smith will undergo ankle surgeries this week.
- In his exit interview with Dak Prescott, McCarthy said part of the discussion included the offseason plans with quarterback schools and minicamps. He applauded Dak's leadership and expects his quarterback to be right in the middle of the offseason plans.