FRISCO, Texas — The preparation for week one is no longer around the corner; the time has arrived.
With less than five days left until the Dallas Cowboys kickoff the season on Sunday night against the New York Giants, the attention to detail into the preparation for the week one opponent has kicked into high gear for head coach Mike McCarthy as he looks for a big divisional win to open the season.
"It's week one, it's a division game," McCarthy said. "These division games are so important towards the success in the division record. It gives you the effect of playoff opportunities. We've had extra time to spend on the Giants. They've had the same coordinators come back, so we feel like we have a pretty good beat on what to expect."
"This is game one. Win that first game, especially on the road it always seems a little tougher than the others. I think that's really where my mindset is at."
Preparing for week one always has a unique wrinkle, especially when you throw in the fact that the Giants have added playmakers on offense such as Darren Waller and Jalin Hyatt. With limited-to-no film on the full scope of the Giants 2023 team, the construction of the game plan remains fluid all the way from the start of the week to the end of the game.
"No one's done anything, it's the first game," he said. "So there really are no comparables. There's reputation based on what you did last year. Doesn't mean much. The reality of it is 35-percent of these plays in these first four weeks will be unscouted looks. So one out of three plays in the game are going to be probably something that's going to be a little different than what we've seen on film."
As a result, capitalizing on opportunities when they're presented in the game is an emphasis, as well as sticking to the fundamentals built throughout training camp and the preseason.
"Execution is obviously the key," he said. "I think the biggest thing is to trust our training camp rules, play with a lot of confidence, play with a lot of energy, just really take care of the basics. The basics will be always at the forefront, but our execution in those areas will be key."
One of the basics of the Cowboys in the preseason has been competitiveness, as McCarthy looks to carry that throughout the season – starting with a week one matchup against a similarly competitive opponent.
"I think the competitive spirit of the team is higher than I've ever seen in my four years here," he said. "It's a competitive division and we're expecting it to be that again with all four teams having the opportunity to be in the playoff hunt. This is really one game, one game that we need to go win."