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Offseason | 2022

Teaching Moment For Final Play: Less Is More


FRISCO, Texas – When the season is over, there are lot of things that suddenly need to get done. For a head coach, who now has to meet individually with over 75 players before they take some needed time off, watching the final game of the season isn't always atop the priority list.

Mike McCarthy admitted on Wednesday that he hasn't seen and graded the final game yet, as his focus shifted towards the end-of-season responsibilities.

But he has watched one play numerous times. Actually, it wasn't really a play considering the Cowboys weren't able to get the snap off in the final seconds.

McCarthy talked in detail about his perspective of what happened at the end of Sunday's loss to the 49ers in which Dak Prescott ran for a first down but the offense wasn't able to get the ball to the official in time for him to spot it and then snap it before the time ran out.

"I mean, yeah, it's really probably the only play I looked at," McCarthy said. "Talked with John Fassel as part of our game situation crew and Kellen [Moore]. When you're looking at a normal clock play, 16 seconds is the threshold, but then there is the tight clock play situation which we were in. And when you're trying to go from a different, the 40, 45-yard throw for the final play, because we're in the last two play sequence. This is how we train it. This is how we rep it every Friday and Saturday."

McCarthy said the Cowboys had enough time to execute the play, but looking back, he would probably change how far Dak ran, which ended up being 17 yards.

"But as far as the draw play, the execution, the only thing Dak and I talked about was put a yard limit on it," McCarthy said. "Cut it to 10 yards. That's probably going to be the change, the adjustment we make."

McCarthy did try to squash the notion that the players aren't allowed to spot the ball, something that has been debated heavily over the last few days. While the official must touch the ball before it's snapped, the players themselves can at least spot the ball.

"The center can spot the ball. The receiver can spot the ball," McCarthy said. "So, the fact that the opinion of you can't spot the ball is not correct. So, the center can spot the ball. Our guys are trained to spot the ball exactly how the referee spots the ball. You put the tip on the inside edge of the hash, and obviously the umpire has to come in and all he has to do is touch it. We're in a three-two-one situation, just snap the ball. Obviously that didn't happen right there at that point. As far as the training of Dak getting the ball to Tyler [Biadasz], Tyler getting it down on the hash mark, that part was intact. Obviously we got to factor in what happened there at the end of that play."

Obviously, the Cowboys would've liked to have one more play in an attempt to win. But, even another snap would only give them a shot from the 24-yard line to throw into the end zone. The Cowboys had plenty of chances throughout the first 59 minutes of play to change the outcome of the game.

But, if the Cowboys indeed get into that moment again, it's clear there will be some changes to the approach.

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