MOBILE, Ala. – Senior Bowl week always serves a few different purposes.
While the draft prospects have a big week on the field, it's also a time for NFL teams to address their next steps heading into the offseason.
On Wednesday, both Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones, along with chief operating officer Stephen Jones, met separately with members of the media before heading off to the practice fields.
The Joneses addressed a variety of topics, from Dak Prescott to the next play-caller to injuries to even more OBJ talk.
- With Kellen Moore no longer the offensive coordinator, the attention has turned to Mike McCarthy, who will now handle the play-calling duties. Both Jerry and Stephen confirmed that on Wednesday. Jerry says the way McCarthy has evolved as a head coach puts him in the best situation to call the plays now. "I'm more comfortable than I would have been had he started calling the plays right when he came in as head coach. I've always viewed him as a coach who could coach the offensive side of the ball."
- Speaking of Moore, Stephen Jones said the organization has great respect for its former OC, but said it was probably time for McCarthy to take more control of the offensive philosophies. "I think he wanted Kellen to (succeed), but he didn't totally agree 100 percent with all of the philosophies and the small things that goes into it," Stephen said. "And it ultimately came down to, hey, if were' going to take the next step, he wants to see if he can make the changes that he thinks can make the difference that he didn't necessarily think that Kellen might have believed in. That's common. We had that with Jason [Garrett] and Scott Linehan and on down the line."
- While McCarthy will handle the play-calling, the Cowboys are still interviewing for offensive coordinator positions. This week, the team met with Thomas Brown and Jeff Nixon. Brown has been the assistant head coach for the Rams and tight ends coach. Nixon has been the running backs coach for the Panthers and has experience calling plays.
- Running back Ezekiel Elliott is "absolutely" a player the Cowboys would like to bring back. Both Jerry and Stephen were on the same page in stating the veteran running back does things that are difficult to define and put a price tag on. However, Stephen said, "You always want Zeke … but do the numbers work? You can't define what Zeke does for our football team." Jones then acknowledged that Tony Pollard is a free agent and will likely get a new contract, if he's not given the franchise tag.
- Jerry Jones still doesn't have any regrets about trading away Amari Cooper, citing the fact the team saved $20 million off the cap and was able to use that money to re-sign free agents such as Dorance Armstrong, Leighton Vander Esch and Jayron Kearse, along with bringing in veterans Anthony Barr and Jason Peters.
- Speaking of big-name receivers, yes, it's that time again. Odell Beckham Jr. is not off the table. The Cowboys will certainly revisit their discussions with him closer to the start of free agency in March. "Oh, absolutely," Stephen said. "We brought Odell Beckham Jr. in for a visit. Decided he wasn't ready to play. (But) that's the way we left it with him. Get ready to play, and then let's revisit. We obviously had an interest for a reason."
- The Cowboys are hopeful Michael Gallup will be ready to have a bigger impact now that he'll be a full year removed from his ACL injury. However, Jones confirmed Gallup indeed had two other minor surgeries on his left knee and his ankle. Both clean-up surgeries shouldn't prevent him from being ready to participate at training camp, if not sooner.
- Gallup wasn't the only player to have arthroscopic surgeries. Tyron Smith had surgery on his knee, Malik Hooker underwent thumb surgery and linebacker Luke Gifford had inner-core surgery.
- As for Smith, he seems to be in the Cowboys' plans for 2023. "I have no reason to believe he won't be," Stephen said before being asked the same question on Jason Peters. "I think Jason enjoyed his time here, and he's a valuable piece for us. He's a big man we were glad we had and missed him when he couldn't play in that last game."
- And, of course, there can't be any discussions about the team right now without a mention of Dak Prescott. Both Jerry and Stephen sounded as optimistic as ever with Prescott's progress and his ability to lead. When asked if the Cowboys would be interested in contract talks with the quarterback again, which would include an extension that would lower his cap charge but keep him in the plans for years to come, Stephen said, "Dak is going to be our guy for, hopefully, the next 10 years. You say that's a long time because he's already played six or seven, but I think Dak will play that long because he takes care of himself, and he's driven to be great. And we fully expect him to be here for 10 years."