FRISCO, Texas — It's been an accountability day at the Dallas Cowboys Headquarters at The Star on Monday after the Cowboys were handed a 42-10 loss by the 49ers in what was previously viewed as a measuring stick game. Instead, the outlook has shifted massively onto everything that has gone wrong early in the season.
Those issues start on the offensive side of the ball where head coach and play-caller Mike McCarthy could not generate any sustainable momentum as the night went on resulting in the lowest offensive output since taking over the offense. Despite the poor showing, McCarthy has confidence in his system and his group to rebound.
"I would not say I'm concerned or wary at all," McCarthy said. "I'd say these are opportunities to grow, no doubt about it. I think adversity gives you a tremendous look inside, makes you answer more questions and makes sure you've got the right answers."
While the offense has found success at times this season starting games, it took the Dallas offense five drives to generate a first down which resulted in the defense having to be on the field for an overwhelming portion of the first half.
"We have been strong starting games as a football team," he said. "That definitely was not the case last night. I think like anything, that's a part of the accountability, seeking continuity and the consistency of how you train and building off that."
After the loss to Arizona, McCarthy identified "three blinking lights" with the team, and one was penalties. That ugly head reared around once again against the 49ers on top of four turnovers that also played into the mistake category.
"I think really the disappointment is in the consistency of play," he said. "You're going to start with your self-inflicted wounds. We had too many pre-snap penalties again that affected drives and that's not the first time it's happened this year. That's definitely something that needs to be addressed, emphasized and we need to be better."
The inability to get playmakers such as CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks involved in the offensive output has been heavily prevalent, and that was particularly the case on Sunday night with each combining for just five receptions and 56 yards.
"I think when you get into these games, you gotta get touches to certain individuals," McCarthy said. "I think we clearly need to do that. When we started this offensive approach back in mid-April, I just think it's a matter of who you want to be and who you think you are."
Moving forward, it will be a big emphasis for the offense to generate things that have not been seen through five games. From creating explosive plays to getting more playmakers involved to establishing the middle of the field and many more factors, the next seven days will be spent seeing where to capitalize in areas that they haven't been able to.
"You give the ball away, you can't win a game," he said. "That's when the game got out of control there in the second half, you got to take care of the ball, we got to continue to go the long way when we have to. But more importantly, I think we can do more as far as creating opportunities for big plays or getting the ball specifically to where you want it to go."