American Football

Mike McCarthy Watch: Cowboys offense looks promising in first training camp practice

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

What did we learn on the first day of the Cowboys training camp?

The Cowboys kicked off their first practice of training camp for the 2023 season, which gave us the best look yet at how this offense will come together now that Brian Schottenheimer has replaced Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator and Mike McCarthy has taken over the calling of plays.

It shouldn’t be expected to get all of the details out of the very first practice, and that certainly wasn’t the case. But we did get a few glimpses of where things stand, and the early word is very positive for Dak Prescott.

McCarthy offenses have generally been considered quarterback-friendly, and McCarthy has spoken quite often throughout this offseason about how much synergy he and Prescott have been in drawing up the new offense, which Prescott dubbed the Texas Coast offense.

Prescott looked sharp early, executing this play-action concept and throwing a perfect ball on the run. Both McCarthy and Prescott have mentioned getting the quarterback moving more this year.

While the Cowboys are not undergoing a complete revamp of their offensive schemes, McCarthy is introducing some West Coast philosophies to the preexisting offense that Prescott and the other returning players are familiar with. And one of the tenets of the West Coast is getting the ball out quick. That was evident multiple times on Wednesday.

Don’t worry, though, McCarthy isn’t going to completely forget about the more downfield throws. The opening practice included plenty of opportunities for Prescott and company to air it out, including connections with CeeDee Lamb – a dynamic that needs to be in tip-top shape – and Jake Ferguson, who will now be looked to as the frontrunner for the starting tight end job following Luke Schoonmaker’s addition to the NFI list.

Of course, not everything went off without a hitch on Wednesday. That should be expected on the first day of practice, and these are the times to get the mistakes out of your system before the games start. Still, it was frustrating to see Simi Fehoko with a drop in which the ball bounced right off his hands and into rookie Eric Scott Jr.’s for the interception.

That’s a sight that Cowboys fans remember all too well, as Prescott led the league in interceptions just last year and saw many of those come on funky plays like Fehoko’s deflection.

That said, this play in particular once again highlights the new emphasis on quick releases in the passing game, and Fehoko (running a slant here) was able to gain a step on Scott. Had he secured the catch, Fehoko would have been in position for some extra yards after the catch. That’s a likely indicator of what we’re going to be seeing from this offense with McCarthy calling plays moving forward.

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