It turns out that the most interesting component of this Cowboys preseason is something we might not get to see at all.
The second week of the preseason has arrived, and the smart money says not to expect much from the Cowboys’ starting players than they did last week. For better or worse, Mike McCarthy has made it clear that he prefers to evaluate his key players within the confines of their practices, where there is more control.
The Cowboys’ head coach said last week, “I have confidence in our practice environment.” “That’s a big reason why we’re staying in California another week. I think the way our guys practice against each other, I mean they push the envelope.”
It’s a judicious choice of words, considering that the final day of practice in Oxnard, Calif., was as boisterous as the Cowboys have been all summer, with several brawls on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s our last practice at camp, man. You gotta give it your all,” said Micah Parsons Later. As much fun as Parsons & Co. must have been on Wednesday, don’t expect to find much more on Saturday. Which brings things back to the original point.
Although McCarthy will be working with his starting players during these three exhibition games, this gives him an opportunity to evaluate his readiness to resume the role of play caller.
“He has a job to do,” McCarthy said Monday.
It makes sense, considering the nearly five-year gap since McCarthy last played for the Green Bay Packers. Doing so is a challenging experience, as it requires single-minded focus and continuous cooperation during each possession when the offense is not on the field. After three years as a walkaround head coach, McCarthy also admitted after the preseason opener against Jacksonville that he hasn’t had time to evaluate his young guards at the moment.
“To be honest, I don’t see defenses as much as I used to, so as far as evaluating each player individually, I can’t really know,” he said.
There’s also over a decade’s worth of muscle memory to contend with. McCarthy explained his mistake last weekend when he returned to Green Bay Verbier and was quickly corrected by his coaching staff.
He later said, “Personally, I am glad that many coaches have worked with me in the past.” “An old slip out of my mouth, it’s a starting offense. But we fixed that right away.”
It’s an amusing anecdote in the preseason, but a sign of fine-tuning to be done before the results start counting. McCarthy recently detailed how he plans for offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to spend the season on the sidelines rather than in the coach’s box. McCarthy and Schottenheimer, longtime friends, made changes to the Cowboys’ playbook to suit their philosophies.
They also plan to get together each week to come up with an offensive game plan, and it seems as though Schottenheimer will provide McCarthy with an extra pair of eyes and ears on the sidelines if needed.
This is not TV entertainment fit. Saturday night the focus will be on the Cowboys’ young players. Even when game coverage allows for the occasional glimpse of the coaches, their performance will still be somewhat difficult to evaluate – practically impossible without access to their radio frequencies.
Yet, with less than a month left for the season to begin, it is just as important as the action on the field. So while his starters may sit on Saturday, and certainly will on August 26 against Las Vegas, every rep counts for McCarthy.
David Hellman covers it dallas cowboys for Fox Sports. He previously spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in the production of “”.dak prescott: A family reunion about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. follow him on twitter @davidhelman_,
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