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Offseason | 2023

Aikman Weighs In on McCarthy Calling Plays


It's another year of change for the Cowboys, and it again includes an alteration to who'll call the plays for the offense, something Troy Aikman is no stranger to — giving insight into the swap

FRISCO, TX — If there's anyone who understands what Dak Prescott is up against in his NFL career, it's Troy Aikman. That's because the Hall of Famer was tasked with saving the day at the quarterback position for the Dallas Cowboys in yesteryear and, eventually, ran up against coaching changes that shook the very core of the organization.

From Jimmy Johnson to Barry Switzer as head coach, and from David Shula to Norv Turner to Ernie Zampese to Jack Reilly at offensive coordinator, yes, Aikman took a ride during his era. 

And while Prescott is still working desperately to climb the same Super Bowl summit that Aikman was able to reach before him, the two-time Pro Bowler is met with yet another round of sweeping changes, both in the roster and in the coaching ranks, that includes longtime offensive coordinator Kellen Moore departing for the Los Angeles Chargers.

That puts head coach Mike McCarthy back in the throne as play-caller for the first time since he left the Green Bay Packers, and Aikman recently weighed in on how that change might look for Prescott heading into Year 8.

"I've been on all sides of it," said Aikman, speaking from a charity event in Dallas. "I've had the offensive coordinator. I've had the head coach that oversees and I've had the head coach that calls the plays, and that's the situation that Dak finds himself in now. It's a little bit of a different environment during the week because the head coach has a lot of responsibilities. Oftentimes, you're interacting with the guy who's not going to be calling plays — most of the time during the week — in your preparation. 

"They've already got a relationship, of course, but I think the dynamics of what happens Monday through Saturday are going to be different from what he's experienced. And how much different is the offense going to look? Time will tell."

For Prescott's part, it's all about embracing the change and understanding the new voice in his earpiece isn't actually new at all, though that voice will be taking a few turns away from what the previous play-caller might've done in any given situation.

From Jason Garrett to Mike McCarthy as head coach, and from Scott Linehan to Kellen Moore and now to McCarthy + Brian Schottenheimer calling/coordinating the offense, he's having quite the ride himself.

"I'm excited for it," said Prescott, only a few feet away from Aikman at the aforementioned event in March. "It's tough to give you that answer right now, but I can tell you that I'm excited and I know that [it'll] bring something to add to my game, and make me more comfortable at this position, whatever it may be. Maybe it's the playcalling, maybe it's the way things are handled throughout the week, whatever it may be, I know there's good to come and change is going to happen."

Yes, it is, and it's why Prescott's sense of urgency to win it all has never been higher.

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