Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy called Dak Prescott the “keystone” of their organization and is pleased with the progress he’s making from his injury.
“He is definitely a keystone of moving forward as a football team,” McCarthy said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “I was very excited about that. He was just finishing up his workout on the field as I walked in here. He’s making progress and he’s on course. I’m excited about Year 2 of the offense because, frankly, in a lot of ways we feel like we really didn’t get to have Year 1. We’re excited about what we can do this year with a healthy offense.”
McCarthy said the Cowboys’ defense will still continue some aspects that brought success in the second half of last season and believes Dallas’ defensive unit doesn’t necessarily need to completely “start-over.”
“Schematically, to the naked eye, in layman’s terms, I don’t think we’ll see a whole lot,” McCarthy said. “Because I think it’s important to build off of what we did accomplish there in probably the second eight weeks, our ability to take the ball away. There are probably some conceptual things I felt like our players really understood and played fast, which wasn’t there in the first eight weeks. This isn’t a start-over situation. We’re able to build off of some of the things we accomplished last year. That definitely was part of my thinking.”
McCarthy called Cowboys’ new S/LB Keanu Neal an “impact player” for their defense and an excellent offseason addition.
“Keanu is an impact player,” McCarthy said. “I think that’s an excellent signing for us. Real excited to get him, and I know Dan and all the guys that worked with him in Atlanta were excited to add him to the mix. I look at him as an impact player.”
McCarthy mentioned that Cowboys OTs Tyron Smith (neck) and La’el Collins (hip) are progressing from their surgeries and does not expect “any setbacks” for them.
“I mean, they look great,” McCarthy said. “Obviously Tyron went through training camp so obviously I have a good feel for him. LC, he was just out there with Dak. He looks like he’s close to being ready to go. I can say that about all the veteran injured players. Unless a guy went out of town for an extended weekend, I can’t recall a day that they haven’t been here. That part has been very regular. Those guys, they all look good. We don’t expect any setbacks.”
- Cowboys’ HC Mike McCarthy on how the team’s players will affect the defensive scheme that Dallas will field in 2021: “I want to say this the right way. So much is made about the 3-4 and 4-3, it’s really not about that. It’s more about the techniques that fit the players and their ability to play. We are player over scheme.” (Calvin Watkins)
- Michael Gehlken reported that S Damontae Kazee was still planning to visit the Lions, but contract negotiations with the Cowboys ramped up and he ultimately decided to sign with the team.
Mike Kaye of NJ Advance Media takes a look at four remaining free-agents who the Eagles should target prior to the 2021 NFL Draft:
- Former Steelers CB Steven Nelson
- Former Vikings LB Eric Wilson
- Former Bears TE Trey Burton
- Former Bills P Corey Bojorquez
Giants’ new TE Kyle Rudolph said his decrease in receptions over the last two years was correlated to the Vikings wanting to feature TE Irv Smith in the passing game, requiring Rudolph to improve as a blocker.
“It’s simple, you can just look at my role and what I was asked to do,” Rudolph said, via ProFootballTalk. “Just turn on the tape and watch what I was doing. A silver lining to that is, you look at the first eight years of my career and I was really only known as a pass catcher. . . . I’m extremely competitive and it forced me to go one of two ways. I could have either complained about it or I could have taken it as a challenge to improve that aspect of my game. It’s funny going throughout the free agency process and getting feedback from teams and hearing how good of a blocker they thought I was. That was just so foreign to me because my whole life blocking was something that I really had to work on and never did well.”