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Cowboys' Mike McCarthy won't coach vs. Saints due to COVID protocols

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The Dallas Cowboys will be missing at least one significant team member when they take on the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night. 

The Cowboys announced on Monday that head coach Mike McCarthy won't be on the sideline for Week 13 due to the NFL's COVID-19 protocols.

Cowboys reportedly in the grip of outbreak

The Cowboys didn't publicly name McCarthy's sideline replacement, though McCarthy later told USA Today that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is also the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, will take over for McCarthy on the sideline. It's possible that the Cowboys had to wait so long to name their stand-in due to the sheer number of coaches who are currently in the COVID protocols. 

Offensive line coach Joe Philbin and conditioning coach Kendall Smith both missed the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Las Vegas Raiders due to COVID protocols. According to ESPN, Philbin and Joe Blasko, who took over Philbin's duties against the Raiders, will both miss Thursday's game against the Saints, as will offensive assistant Scott Tolzien.

There are still more coaches who have been affected by the outbreak. ESPN reported that strength and conditioning coordinator Harold Nash was placed in the COVID-19 protocol with assistant Cedric Smith. Smith is the only coach that could return for the Saints game.

Several players have also been affected. Wide receiver Amari Cooper has missed the last two games after being placed in the COVID protocols and is expected to return to practice on Monday. Offensive tackle Terence Steele was placed in the protocol on Sunday. And there could be more to come.