Mike McCarthy on returning to play calling: I just felt this was a good time to make that change
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.”
Mike McCarthy on returning to play calling: I just felt this was a good time to make that change originally appeared on Pro Football Talk