Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy spent part of his Wednesday press conference collecting the beans that owner/general manager Jerry Jones spilled at right tackle.
“The plan is to go with Steele, and he’ll do a good job,” Jones said Tuesday of replacing La’el Collins, who’s serving a five-game NFL suspension. “He’s a young guy that we’re proud of. He really had a great rookie year last year, relatively speaking, and he’ll do a good job out there. We’ll give him lots of help.”
Not so fast.
Roughly 24 hours after Jerry’s apparent news-breaking, McCarthy clarified that the team has yet to decide whether to start Steele or fellow backup Ty Nsekhe in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers — and beyond.
“Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy didn’t confirm Jerry Jones’ pronouncement that Terence Steele will start at RT. But he did praise Terence’s understanding of game plan as ‘in front of the room.’ Touted offseason strength Terence added to complement athleticism he brought as rookie,” USA Today’s Jori Epstein tweeted.
“Not surprising that Mike McCarthy would not confirm Jerry Jones’ announcement that Terence Steele was starting at right tackle,” added Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “McCarthy wasn’t ready to make that announcement. Of course, Jones doesn’t care that he undermines the head coach. He is the GM”
The latest Dallas Cowboys news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Cowboys newsletter here!Sign up for the Heavy on Cowboys Newsletter!
McCarthy Indicates Steele Will Get Nod
A second-year former undrafted free agent, Steele started 14 games last season in place of Collins. The other two starts were attributed to Zack Martin, who briefly converted from right guard. Martin is expected to remain at RG with Collins on suspension, and McCarthy seemingly confirmed Thursday that Steele will line up aside the perennial All-Pro.
“It definitely gives you a lot of comfort, experience you can’t buy,” McCarthy said Thursday, per Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News.
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Cowboys Media Debates Steele’s Efficacy
Suffice to say, Steele did not perform at Collins’ level in 2020, regularly allowing pressure on then-starting quarterbacks Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, and Garrett Gilbert. Opinions vary as to how well he will perform Sunday, taking on a fearsome Chargers front led by superstar pass-rusher Joey Bosa.
“I think he’s improved because players in their second year should improve,” wrote Nick Eatman of the Cowboys’ official website. “But I haven’t seen it just yet because he was just pretty good in camp and the preseason. But I like his agility and the fact he’s already started 14 games. He’ll be a guy who battles, but let’s find out if he’s better when the games start.”
Los Angeles totaled one sack and seven QB hits in last week’s win over Washington. Coincidentally, the Cowboys allowed one sack and seven QB hits in their season-opening loss to Tampa Bay.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL