INDIANAPOLIS -- Mike McCarthy said he felt overwhelmingly blessed to walk back into the NFL Scouting Combine as an NFL head coach after a year away from the game.
"Thankful for the break," the first-year coach of the Dallas Cowboys said Wednesday. "Thankful to be back."
McCarthy said the new job in Dallas is more similar to his old gig with the Green Bay Packers than most might think. Both have a family-first atmosphere and a rich NFL tradition.
Owner Jerry Jones brings the same urgency to get to the Super Bowl that McCarthy experienced in Green Bay, but there are a lot of boxes to check in the offseason for the Cowboys. That includes resolutions with two top free agents, quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, as well as with defensive end Robert Quinn and linebacker Sean Lee while managing a tight cap situation.
As the front office evaluates the best way to keep Prescott, McCarthy said he's advancing his study of player performance and specifically looking at bending his system to fit Prescott's strengths.
"I think the obvious thing that jumps out with Dak is the big-play ability," McCarthy, 56, said. "His ability to make throws from the pocket -- so impressed with the number of plays he made in the pocket -- and go downfield. I'm just excited to put this new offense together and get to work with him."
McCarthy described the defensive overhaul as a "wholesale change," and said he expects Dallas to be ahead of the game offensively relative to the rebuild on the other side of the ball.
With 13 seasons as coach of the Green Bay Packers -- and eight straight playoff seasons -- it might take some time to adjust to McCarthy in his new colors. He's liking the fit of the Star.
"It's been a smooth change," McCarthy said Wednesday. "It's great to jump back into it. We like the blue."
--By Jeff Reynolds, Field Level Media