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McCarthy on 3-4 or 4-3, Dez Catch, Dak & More


FRISCO, Texas – What a first day for Mike McCarthy as the new head coach of the Cowboys.

His opening press conference had nearly the entire staff from The Star in attendance as they eagerly waited to hear his first words as the team's ninth head coach in franchise history.

McCarthy had some one-liners, showing off his personality from the start, admitting to the audience that he wasn't even sure where to place his hands on the table, which proved to be a pleasant icebreaker for the event.

But it wasn't long before McCarthy showed his passion for taking the job, and his vision for what is to come. Some topics he was able to comment on, while others he sidestepped, including the coaching staff.

But here are some highlights from McCarthy's press conference, alongside Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones.

  • For a coach who has worked with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers during his time in Green Bay, McCarthy obviously knows what it takes to be a great quarterback. When asked about Dak, the Cowboys new coach had nothing but high praise. "I think what Dak has done so far is very impressive," McCarthy said. "He has an incredible foundation, and our system is built around making the quarterback successful. I like what I've seen from him so far. We have a great one here to work with."
  • When asked about how he expects Ezekiel Elliott's role to be, McCarthy referred to him by his nickname, stating that he would obviously be a big part of the offense. "With Zeke, he's gonna get the football. Let's not make any mistake about that. I think you have to clearly understand that when you say 'the offense is gonna make the quarterback successful', the best way to make him successful is a great running game."
  • While asked a couple of different ways to discuss his coaching staff, McCarthy chose not to give many details as there are several things still in the works for both sides of the ball. Reportedly, McCarthy is set to bring on Mike Nolan, Jim Tomsula and John Fassel, along with Kellen Moore coming back as the offensive coordinator.
  • Another aspect McCarthy didn't answer, which is still rather interesting in its own way, is that he didn't reveal whether the team would stay in a 4-3 scheme or switch back to the 3-4 defense. Nolan has a history of playing both styles in his past, although the Cowboys would likely have to add several new pieces up front if they indeed made a switch to the 3-4, a defense they played under Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips.
  • And for the question we all wanted to know … Did Dez catch it? Of course, McCarthy was on the other side of the 2014 NFC Divisional game in Green Bay, and actually threw the challenge flag to question if Dez Bryant caught the ball near the end zone in the fourth quarter. Sitting in between both Jerry and Stephen Jones and knowing that play stirred not only years of controversy but also a rule change from the league, he was more diplomatic with his answer. "That was one hell of an athletic play. I was impressed. It was a great catch I would say now. But it wasn't then, technically."
  • McCarthy revealed a conversation he had on the field with the head official on a clarification of the rules which allowed him to throw the flag in the first place.
  • One of McCarthy's first order of business as head coach will be to meet with most of his new players. There were a handful of guys at the press conference who were able to meet with him afterwards. That included Randall Cobb, who is a free agent, but spent the first part of his career in Green Bay with McCarthy. Other players at the press conference were Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, Antwaun Woods and Daniel Ross.