Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy sat down with hosts RJ Choppy and Shan Sheriff for his weekly radio show on 105.3 The Fan Friday morning. The group discussed several things with the candid coach, including growing a playoff beard (he says he’s more committed to the long haul) and drinking playoff beer.
The first serious topic however was about Sunday’s two quarterbacks as the club is set to take on the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson, a great test for Dak Prescott to measure himself against. The coach was asked about being on the recruiting trail and ID’ing Wilson as a top prospect.
“At that time Russell was right down the road at the University of Wisconsin. I remember when John [Schneider, Seahawks GM] first saw him play and just fell in love with him. His ability to extend plays, but his background in baseball and his ability to torque a football, you could see that right away. I’ve always preferred the athletic quarterback as opposed to the pocket quarterback.”
Wilson, at 5-11, 215 pounds, fell to the third round because he wasn’t seen as a prototypical quarterback for the NFL. Even with the game’s evolution over the last decade. This was still seen as a huge detriment as recently as 2012. Even the Cowboys’ Prescott didn’t measure up to the 6-foot-4-and-above standards the league normally likes to see. McCarthy knows that the regular size and mold preference isn’t the direction the league is heading.
“The game has made you adjust. If you look at how the rules and emphasis on player safety and the ability to play a more wide open perimeter game. The NFL is so much more geared towards the space game and the athletic quarterback where 10-15 years ago that was not the case. You have to adjust your thinking.”
“Dak is such an incredible fit for today’s NFL because of his ability to play in the pocket, out of the pocket, run the option, all of those perimeter-type schemes are right in his wheelhouse.”
McCarthy has seen a lot in his 13 years as head coach of Green Bay, and spent time with a highly mobile quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. During that run, he’s been on the opposing sideline against Prescott and seen what he could do in person, but working with someone provides an entirely different perspective.
“I think like anything in this league when you have a chance to watch a player live, I was so impressed [2016 regular season matchup] with him that day in Green Bay, then we had a chance to compete against him in the playoffs. You could definitely see the ability to play in and out of the pocket, in college and then early… but really having the chance to take a year off and watch primarily all his games I was impressed with him playing in the pocket. He’s a highly productive player in the pocket. I just think he’s got the whole game.”
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