FRISCO, Texas – One year ago today, Mike McCarthy was introduced as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
It turned out to be a season unlike any other in his 30-year NFL career so far.
The logistical and scheduling challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The injuries to key starters. The tragic passing of strength and conditioning coordinator Markus Paul in late November.
The Cowboys have been through a lot this season, and their goals fell short with a 6-10 record and no playoff appearance. It's certainly not the first-year result McCarthy hoped for when he arrived at The Star for his opening press conference on Jan. 8, 2020.
But McCarthy enjoyed his first year working with the Jones family and feels good about the franchise's foundation moving forward.
"I really enjoy Jerry and Stephen, their outlook on the NFL," McCarthy said Friday on 105.3 The Fan. "What's been built here with the Dallas Cowboys is unique, strong, powerful and it's a tremendous responsibility that I take very seriously. Things are very clear on how we want to approach things. The communication is good. They're very respectful to the vision of the football program that I've implemented here.
"I really like the structure and the communication and just the way we operate. They're all about winning, but they are a family-first approach and mindset. That's something I truly believe in and that's the way I've always coached and installed a football program as a head coach. And they have that established here already.
"I really enjoy this part of it. The only disappointment I have is that we were 6-10."
McCarthy said he plans to continue his end-of-season evaluations and exit interviews into next week, looking at all aspects of the team: the roster and his staff, as well as the way they approached the training process during an unprecedented virtual offseason. The goal: to find ways to improve moving into 2021.
"There's so much information that's gathered (during the exit interview process)," he said. "Just talking with (offensive coordinator) Kellen (Moore) yesterday, he felt like he's grown so much as a coach just in the last three days because of what these interviews give you. It just makes you go back and look at everything. That's really where my focus is right now. I'll continue to go through the whole big picture."