Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys’ coordinators spoke on their plan moving forward, as the team needs to rebound quickly and prepare for Week 4 of the season.
How Will Mike McCarthy Address the Red-Zone Issues This Week?
McCarthy said he believes in education, application, and evaluation for the players. The head coach acknowledged that the first half of the game had no flow for the Cowboys, and said things got better in the second half.
But ultimately, they need to be better, especially with their preparation.
The team was working with three new offensive linemen, two of whom had their first NFL starts. McCarthy said overall, the preparation was not where it needed to be going into the game.
As for his plan to capitalize in the red zone, he says it starts with spending more time on it at practice this week.
“When things aren’t right, you work harder at it, and you spend more time on it,” said the head coach.
He said the most important thing they can do going forward is not overreact, acknowledging that the team is leading the league in getting down to the red zone, which is the hard part. But they are aware of the issue.
McCarthy compared the team’s current struggle to last season’s with converting on third down early on and the Cowboys ending the season with the fourth-best third-down conversation rate in the NFL.
Where Does the Work Start For Brian Schottenheimer?
Brian Schottenheimer, the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, said it starts with staying ahead of the sticks.
“I think the red zone bottom line is we just kind of shot ourselves in the foot. If you put yourself in third down and long in the red zone, it’s hard. And so I think that’s where we got to look, and we got to find a way of winning first and second down, down there too many third and longs,” said Schottenheimer.
The offensive coordinator said it starts with him coaching the guys better in playing red zone football, but ultimately, the team should have been able to score more.
He discussed penalties being a significant reason for this, adding that the team can’t shoot themselves in the foot in third-and-long situations.
Schottenheimer added, “This is not a matchup thing. We’ve got terrific players, and we just have to execute better. We have to coach better, and when the plays are there to be made, we have to do those things. And it’ll be a big emphasis for us this week.”
Dan Quinn Addresses Defensive Downfalls
As for the defense, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said he saw a lot that upset and hurt him. However, the biggest was the comment that they didn’t look like themselves — not because he disagreed, but because it was true.
“I think one of the things that probably felt like five fingers across the face was, man, you guys didn’t look like your defense. You know what you guys have been playing, and the reason it probably hit me was because I thought that was right. And [we] didn’t play to the standards that we’ve seen and what our excellent looks like,” said Quinn.
He said the most significant issue was the poor first half and the explosive plays they allowed the Cardinals to rack up.
The unit struggled with run defense in the loss vs. Arizona, allowing the Cardinals to rack up 222 rushing yards — something Quinn said was a credit to how Arizona QB Josh Dobbs was playing.
Quinn likes to stay in the same process, win or lose, but there could be weeks that he wants to emphasize some things more than others.
“I’d love to say that all the lessons are the same — wins and losses — but I think we all know that’s not the case. When you have these moments like this to teach from and grow from, you better use it. Otherwise, the pain of yesterday wasn’t worth, so you might as well make it count,” he said.
Regarding the penalties on the defense, he said combative penalties are ones they can live with since it’s part of their play style to push the aggressiveness.
Still, he would like to knock out the pre-snap penalties and the ones that happened when the team was trying to get the ball back in the final four minutes, saying, “We’ve been better in that space up until yesterday. I surely anticipate that going back to the way we like.”
He has faith in his group, stating, “These guys are a warrior crew, and they will respond like crazy.”
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