Quinn was Atlanta head coach for six seasons from 2015-2020, posting a 43-42 regular-season record and taking his team to Super Bowl LI. He was fired last season and rejuvenated a Dallas defense that had just completed a season in which it allowed a franchise record for points.
Quinn will ultimately make the final decisions, but offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and special teams coordinator John Fassel will also be heavily involved.
“I think naturally with Dan’s experience, the challenge flag, the time outs, the referees meeting, there are just a lot of little things that come into play,” said McCarthy. “You could get someone to do it on a weekly basis, but we’re going to broadcast it. Kellen just needs to focus on the offense and call the game up and stick with that. John is also involved in the management of the game like most special team coaches are. We have the network at the top, so this is something that will not change. So the biggest change is having Dan on the pitch and making sure he gets the information he needs to make smart decisions. “
McCarthy was placed on COVID protocols Monday, but continued to lead game preparation and was involved in virtually every meeting. He will conduct his normal pre-game interview with the team on Thursday morning.
McCarthy, who said his only symptom so far was a “itchy throat,” can’t remember missing a practice during his tenure in the NFL. A stomach problem kept him from coaching at the Pro Bowl in 2016. He said he hadn’t thought about what it would be like to watch his team play on TV.
“I just want to make sure the team is ready,” said McCarthy. “That’s how I’ve always done: there is a preparation phase and a performance phase. The preparation phase must be completed because it obviously gives us the best chances on Thursday night. Obviously I think it’s going to be difficult to sit there and watch your team compete. It’s difficult. Obviously, I had a bit of that experience there at the end of 2018 (after being sacked in Green Bay), and it was brutal to watch. “
McCarthy briefed his players at the end of the virtual team meeting on Monday morning.
“The message was to keep going, just keep going,” said quarterback Dak Prescott. “The coaches did a great job putting us into a routine and giving us a foundation. And we have great leaders and great coaches and coordinators who are going to do a great job of moving forward. The coach will be missed but his health is first and foremost important. We will fight and do whatever we need to. “
The change will move Quinn from the pit to the sideline. He called defenses for two years in Atlanta as a head coach.
“The most important thing about decision making and being defensive is that he gets the right information in the right amount of time, which is also probably more critical than the right information,” McCarthy said. “The guys in the box are going to have to pick up a bit up there. “
The Cowboys will continue their virtual meetings Tuesday and Wednesday before flying to New Orleans. McCarthy said the Cowboys will continue to test throughout the game. So far, right tackle Terence Steele is the only player not active this week due to COVID.
In addition to McCarthy, the Cowboys will also be deprived of offensive line coach Joe Philbin, offensive line assistant coach Jeff Blasko, strength and conditioning coordinator Harold Nash and assistant coach. Kendall Smith’s strength and conditioning against the Saints.
Running backs coach Skip Peete missed the Nov. 14 game against the Atlanta Falcons due to COVID.
With the high number of cases among the coaches, McCarthy moved into the Omni Hotel next to the Star in order to sequester himself and protect his family. He said members of his family have also tested positive.
In his message to players, McCarthy said he “just stressed from a personal perspective that this is real. This threat is very real and please do all you can to keep you and your family safe… I told them, “Hey, if he can have me, he can have anyone. ‘ I would like to think that I was super careful and careful. I just think it shows you the danger of the pandemic and the virus. “
Wide receiver Amari Cooper was back in the building after missing the last two games on the reserve / COVID-19 roster but did not train.
After minimal COVID issues last season, the Cowboys have been hit a lot harder this season. Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin missed the season opener on the COVID roster. Linebacker Keanu Neal and Cooper, who were the only two unvaccinated players on the 53-player roster, missed two games each on the COVID roster. Defensive end Randy Gregory, kicker Greg Zuerlein, guard Brandon Knight and defensive end Bradlee Anae also missed games on the roster.
McCarthy is the fourth head coach to miss a game while on COVID protocols since last season. Kevin Stefanski missed the Cleveland Browns’ playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals and Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears have each missed a game this season.