Even two weeks removed from the regular season, a lot has changed under Head Coach Mike McCarthy for the Dallas Cowboys. We’ve seen a glimpse of it on training camp, but it seems like he’ll continue to surprise us. Quarterbacks are wearing bright red jerseys, the increased shuffle of personnel in practices, and what some players have described as better communication are only a few examples.
But perhaps nothing has changed more than the secrecy surrounding the Dallas Cowboys organization. Reporters aren’t allowed to tell fans as much as they did in previous years and there are almost no videos of practice circling social media. On McCarthy’s command, training camp information for fans has been limited.
That shift on confidentiality is a clear result of Mike McCarthy’s hiring and it was on perfect display on Sunday Night.
Hours before the Dallas Cowboys kicked off their 2020 scrimmage on “Cowboys Night,” we were met with the surprise that players wouldn’t be wearing names nor numbers on their jerseys. The reason being Mike McCarthy’s desire to have the element of surprise as the regular season approaches.
Although it was a surprise, fans still tuned in to the much-advertised event that was broadcast across all Dallas Cowboys platforms. However, if they intended to tune in to have even a remote idea of what was going on on the field, they were in for a big disappointment.
You see, the Cowboys didn’t truly broadcast the scrimmage. Instead, all we saw in the broadcast were close-ups of players and coaches, interviews, and what were basically two separate Cowboys talk shows.
McCarthy wanted secrecy, and that’s exactly what he achieved. Not once did we get a full shot of a single play on the field. Heck, even rookies had stars on their helmets to keep us from telling rookies and veterans apart!
It’s impossible to criticize the Cowboys for doing this, even if we felt misled by the advertising of a scrimmage broadcast. After all, McCarthy’s staff is doing everything they can to find an edge in a shortened, different offseason. When asked about it on the broadcast, Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones brought up the September 5th cuts and how they didn’t feel the need to advertise players who they might want to sign to their practice squad.
The fact that the Cowboys are so concerned about this kind of stuff has to get you excited about the McCarthy Era. This feels like a page taken straight out of Bill Belichick’s handbook.
The broadcast featured multiple interviews, some recorded, some live, including one to Jerry Jones, who spoke on a variety of topics, including COVID-19. “I got very discouraged that we were going to have the challenges that we’re having,” said Jerry Jones on the ambiguity of playing football in the middle of a pandemic before mentioning how he felt sure about the season happening now.
“I really do think that we have a real edge in the design of our stadium,” Jones answered when asked about fan attendance in 2020. He added that he loved the idea of being a part of finding out how to “get it done.”
But perhaps Jerry Jones’ highlight came when discussing first-round rookie CeeDee Lamb. The team’s general manager told a story about his grandson reaching over to say “production, Papa, production” as he thought about picking between Lamb and LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson. “He’s coming in with an edge,” said Jones of CeeDee Lamb while adding that if he came even close to Michael Irvin’s career, the young kid would end up in the Hall of Fame.
We might not have learned anything about the 2020 Dallas Cowboys on “Cowboys Night” but here are a couple of injury notes from Sunday night per ESPN’s Todd Archer:
- Xavier Woods was injured early in practice but returned to the sidelines later and seemed to be okay. It’ll be an injury to keep an eye out for.
- WR Ventrell Bryant went down with a left knee injury and was taken to the locker room.