Mike McCarthy on returning to play calling: I just felt this was a good time to make that change

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For 13 seasons, Mike McCarthy doubled as head coach and play caller in Green Bay and won a Super Bowl. He allowed offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to retain the play calling when McCarthy arrived in Dallas in 2020.

But Moore’s departure for the Chargers means McCarthy will call plays for the Cowboys for the first time. McCarthy said Wednesday he is having the most fun he’s had in his time with the team.

“I think every three, four, five years into your offense, you need to make pretty good – not significant – but changes and adjustments, tendencies and things like that,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “I just felt this was a good time to make that change.”

The language will remain the same, but McCarthy expects 30 to 35 percent of the playbook to change.

“Yeah, we’re not looking to have wholesale changes,” McCarthy said.

But the Cowboys will be different offensively. How and how much is the question.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones recently alluded to the “philosophical differences” between McCarthy and Moore. So, McCarthy now gets to call plays as he sees fit rather than overseeing Moore’s calls.

“Everybody has plays; everybody has concepts,” McCarthy said. “Every player and coach, you have tendencies in this league. You’re ignorant to think that you don’t. It’ll be no different for myself. It’s just how you attack the other side. There’s some things conceptionally that I believe in more in situational football than may have happened the last three years. But you know, let’s be honest, I had all the input that I wanted the last three years, too.

“I think clearly when you look at how Kellen coordinated in ’19 [under Jason Garrett], and just look at our run totals the last three years. We were a different offense in ’22 than we were in 2020. That was part of the evaluation of being more balanced, more complementary football, not as wide open in the dropbacks. You look at all those things. I’m really looking forward to the critique from you about how different it is.”

With Moore calling the plays, the Cowboys twice ranked first in yards (2019, 2021) and once ranked first in points (2021). They were 11th in yards and fourth in points this season, though Dak Prescott threw a career-high 15 interceptions.

“We’re not throwing everything away,” McCarthy said. “We have a lot of good to build off of. Number 1 with our players, and the concepts that have been established. It’s really our responsibility to make sure we’re clean and precise on the direction that we’re going.”

11 responses to “Mike McCarthy on returning to play calling: I just felt this was a good time to make that change

  1. Draft a RB in the 1st and tell the fanbase youre going to win the superbowl, that’s the Dallas Cowboys way!

  2. I think Mike McCarthy actually believes he runs this team…(Jerruh begs to differ)

  3. I have a premonition of Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones from his luxury suite, on the hotline phone to Mike McCarthy telling Dak the play Jerry wants.

  4. This will get him booted from Dallas. He sucked at game management while calling plays in GB. Missed time outs, red flag ops, the whole nine yards trying to do to much.
    He may be the reason the pack never won more then one sb under his tutelege.

  5. It must have been tough for him to let Kellen call plays. We’ll see whose system works soon enough.

  6. McCarthy makes it sound like it was his decision. Lol – someone needs to tell him that Jones calls the shots.

    It’s interesting that Moore’s offenses were ranked highly. Meanwhile McCarthy has a reputation of being behind the times with offensive innovation (with Rodgers making him look good). Hmm: what could go wrong

  7. Well, the team is so well managed when it matters that I can see how adding offensive play calling would be something you’d think was a benefit. Just remember you have Jethro at QB and he is slow on the uptake.

  8. He was a terrible coach in GB and that has continued in Dallas Why did Jerruh think he was a good hire? He cant even manage the 2 minute drill or simple timeouts at the correct time.

  9. So big Mike’s fall guy is gone. He may be too after this season. Dude doesn’t have a SB cause he’s a good coach, he has a SB because he lucked into a HOF QB.

  10. its never hard to distinguish between pro-Cowboy or anti-Cowboy on here

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