Two days after news broke of his hiring, Mike McCarthy was officially introduced as the Dallas Cowboys‘ new head coach during a press conference Wednesday at The Star.
Not that he’d publicly state otherwise, but McCarthy genuinely is “excited” to coach up the two-time Pro Bowl passer, who’s coming off a career season with 4,902 passing yards, one shy of the team’s all-time single-season record held by Tony Romo.
“What he’s done so far is very impressive,” McCarthy said of Prescott, per WFAA’s Mike Leslie. “I think like a lot of us, in the league, you watch people from afar. But when you have a chance to watch a player live, and I can recall his rookie year when we played him in Green Bay, so I’ve always been impressed with him. You’re gonna be able to run the whole offense and then some. And I think he has an incredible foundation to build off of. Our offensive system will be built around making the quarterback successful. That’s the way I’ve learned it, and that’s the way I believe you play offense. We have a great one there to work with.”
McCarthy’s strong support of Prescott should help the 26-year-old secure his long-sought-after contract extension prior to hitting unrestricted free agency in March. And considering McCarthy’s well-documented work with Aaron Rodgers, the Cowboys have to feel better about backing up the Brink’s truck.
Prescott finished the 2019 campaign second in the NFL in passing behind only Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston. The Cowboys spawned the league’s top offense in yards per game (431.5) and the second-best passing attack (296.6 YPG), due in large part to the creative mind of incumbent coordinator Kellen Moore.
Such as he did in Green Bay, McCarthy is expected to call plays for Dallas, although he’s also expressed a strong interest in retaining Moore, who’s reportedly mulling another offer from the University of Washington.
“I’m not really ready to talk about who is on staff let alone who is calling plays,” McCarthy said. “The structure and way we do things will be similar to how I’ve always done it.”
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McCarthy Plans to Feed Zeke, As Well
All things considered, the Cowboys likely will remain a pass-happy offense under McCarthy, who never was gifted a running back of Ezekiel Elliott’s caliber during his 13 years with the Packers. But not a pass-dominant scheme, either.
Now that he has a true workhorse at his disposal — the league’s fourth-leading rusher (1,357 yards) — McCarthy won’t shy away from making him a focal point, rather than heap the entirety of the offense upon Prescott’s shoulders.
“He’s going to get the football,” he said. “Make no mistake about that.”
Whereas Moore and ex-coach Jason Garrett failed to best incorporate the two superstars, McCarthy (rightly) believes they go hand-in-hand. A potent aerial attack will open up more running lanes, and vice versa.
On Monday, FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer, who first reported McCarthy’s hiring and is plugged into his thinking, predicted Garrett’s successor will “feed [Zeke] like crazy.”
“One of the things he walked in there he was like, he hasn’t really had a guy like Zeke Elliott before,” Glazer said, via Blogging The Boys. “You know Mike, look when you have Brett Favre, when you have Joe Montana, Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers as your quarterbacks, you’re going to kind of go pass happy. But he’s never really had a guy like Zeke so, no. That’s one of the things they discussed also. He loves Dak. He’s excited to work with Dak, but he hasn’t had a Zeke Elliott type guy. No, they’re going to feed him like crazy.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL