FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Mike McCarthy never budged when asked about the pandemic disrupting his first offseason as coach of the Dallas Cowboys, preferring to emphasize challenges around the world over the difficulties of trying to implement his program.
The former Green Bay coach was even more direct when asked how the coronavirus might alter expectations for a club that fell flat amid high hopes last year, leading to his arrival when Jason Garrett’s contract wasn’t renewed.
“If you’re not trying to win a Super Bowl, I don’t know what you’re even doing in this business,” McCarthy said. “The ones that don’t talk about it are probably trying to underpromise, overachieve.
“But I’ve always been very upfront about it with every team I’ve ever coached. We’re in this to win a championship. Make no bones about it.”
Ten years after winning a Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at the home of the Cowboys, McCarthy will try to help Dallas get past the divisional round for the first time since the last of five Super Bowl titles 25 years ago.
Dak Prescott is coming off his best season statistically (4,902 yards passing, 30 touchdowns) but worst record (8-8), while Ezekiel Elliott just played a full season without winning a rushing title for the first time.
Prescott has another weapon Dallas wasn’t expecting to get in CeeDee Lamb, drafted 17th overall. The dynamic former Oklahoma receiver joins Amari Cooper, who signed a $100 million contract, and the promising young Michael Gallup.
The Cowboys made two win-now moves for a defense needing playmakers, seeking help for star pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence by adding Aldon Smith, who hasn’t played in almost five years, and Everson Griffen on one-year contracts.
Owner Jerry Jones avoids Super Bowl-or-else chatter better than he used to, but he’s talking much the same way he did a year ago, when the Cowboys faded after a 3-0 start and missed the playoffs.
“I do see a talented group of players here,” Jones said on his radio show. “I do see the right mix of the younger players and some experience. We’ve added some real talent with the draft and, frankly, in the offseason. So, I think that is going to actually be as good as I can remember when we brought talent to the field.”
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