FRISCO, Texas — In his first day back in the office after a 10-day absence because of COVID-19, Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy expressed confidence in his team heading into Sunday’s game against the Washington Football Team.
“We’re going to win this game,” McCarthy said. “I’m confident in that.”
It wasn’t exactly Jimmy Johnson’s bold call into a local radio station before the 1993 NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers when the Hall of Fame coach said, “We will win the ballgame. You can put it in three-inch headlines.” But it was a sign that McCarthy believes in his team.
“I mean, what am I supposed to say?” McCarthy said. “Yeah, I fully expect to win every game I’ve ever competed in. That’s what sports is all about. That’s what the NFL [is all about]. Trust me, I understand how hard it is. They’re working hard. We’re working hard. But, yeah, we’re clearly planning on going to Washington and winning the game. There’s no doubt about that.”
The Cowboys lead the NFC East with an 8-4 record, but Washington has won four straight games and these teams meet two times over the next three weeks. During Thursday’s team meeting, McCarthy showed a video on the history of the rivalry between the two franchises.
The Cowboys hold a 73-47-2 advantage in the series, but lost both games last season that were played without Dak Prescott. In his career, Prescott is 7-1 vs. Washington.
“We’re just really focused on self-improvement and winning,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got to do whatever we got to do to win the game. But these guys are very accountable, the work ethic of our football team, the whole space is. They’re very accountable. We know what people think of us. We love that. We’re comfortable with who we are and where we are, but I’m excited about what’s in front of us.”
The Cowboys close the season with four NFC East games mixed around a Jan. 2 meeting against the Arizona Cardinals, who have the best record in the league.
“This is December football,” McCarthy said. “I mean, December football defines your season. You have to get it done in December. There’s no way we can get to where we want to go if we don’t take care of things. I like the fact that we’re on a five-week stretch. Hopefully this stays seven days. That would be nice. But I really like the way this lays up for us.”
McCarthy has a 39-19 career mark in December.
He doesn’t worry about bulletin board material.
“With respect to your job, I think it’s a waste of time,” he said. “I’m more focused on the real stuff. I think it’s important you go through the week to identify how the opponent is going to play you things you’re expecting. By Friday, they’re blank faces to me. We’re about winning, doing the things we need to win, just stay on the details of where we need to improve. To me, that’s enough work.”