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Jerry Jones confirms Mike McCarthy will call Cowboys plays in 2023

'Sometimes for Dak to take the next step, he might have to get uncomfortable'

MOBILE, Ala. — The Dallas Cowboys have yet to fill their 2023 offensive coordinator vacancy.

Nonetheless, their play-caller appears to be already under contract.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy will call plays, team owner/general manager Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed Wednesday morning before Senior Bowl practices.

“This is the logical step to build on it and use what we’ve established,” Jerry Jones said. “This is a time for us to build on. That’s what this is: a building step.”

Jones said he expects the offense to more closely resemble McCarthy’s principle than Dallas’ operation in the head coach’s first three Cowboys years.

The Cowboys hired McCarthy as head coach in January 2020 after his 13-year stint as Green Bay Packers head coach included a Super Bowl title and nine playoff appearances.

The staff almost entirely turned over when McCarthy arrived. But offensive coordinator Kellen Moore stayed in place, on account of both the unit’s productivity and McCarthy’s desire to give quarterback Dak Prescott stability and comfort in the system.

No longer.

The Cowboys announced Sunday night they mutually parted ways with Moore. By Monday, Moore was announced as Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator.

Moore’s vision “doesn’t totally jive” with what McCarthy sought from the offense, Stephen Jones said.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy will call plays for the team in 2023 after the departure of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy will call plays for the team in 2023 after the departure of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

“I think he wanted Kellen to roll but he didn’t totally agree 100 percent with all of the philosophies and the small things that goes into it,” Jones sad, “and it ultimately came down to, hey, if we’re going to take the next step, he wants to see if he can make the changes that he thinks can make the difference that he didn’t necessarily think that Kellen might have believed in.

“That’s common.”

Stephen Jones declined to confirm whether the front office had consulted with Prescott about the coordinator decision even while committing to Prescott for years to come.

The Cowboys' offense ranked top-six in scoring three of the past four years, the exception when Prescott suffered a season-ending fracture and dislocation of his ankle in Week 5.

Dallas ranked first in offensive yardage twice in the past four years, and at least 14th each of those years.

But turnovers, including Prescott’s league-leading 15 interceptions, stunted 2022 success. A deep playoff run eluded Dallas, who last advanced to the conference championship following the 1995 season. The offense sputtered in a 19-12 divisional-round loss to the San Francisco 49ers just a week after Prescott accounted for five touchdowns in a 31-14 wild-card win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dak Prescott headshot
Dak Prescott
QB - DAL - #4
2022 - 2023 season
2,860
Yds
238.3
Y/G
66.2
Comp Pct
23
TD
91.1
QBRat

“Sometimes in order to take the next step, you have to get uncomfortable,” Stephen Jones said. “And sometimes for Dak to take the next step, he might have to get uncomfortable and do something different. For Mike to take the next step, he’s got to do something different. For us to take the next step, same thing.

“At some point if you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results, good luck.”