Will this practice change give the Cowboys an edge in 2020?

The Dallas Cowboys are mixing up how they practice in 2020. Will it give them an edge?

Mike McCarthy will make his regular season debut as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams. The last time McCarthy was on an NFL field at the helm of a franchise was December 2, 2018.

The longtime head coach for the Green Bay Packers was fired following a 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals back in Week 13 of the 2018 NFL regular season. And he became the new head coach of America’s Team in January of 2020.

During his time out of the league, which McCarthy has since called a “gift”, he famously prepared for a possible return to the NFL by creating a consortium of ex-coaches to study football and improve on their perceived weaknesses. The former Super Bowl winning head coach took that time to study every aspect of his coaching, including how and when to schedule practices.

McCarthy is surely putting some of what he learned over the past year to good use in Dallas by implementing changes in how the team prepares for games. For instance, Friday’s typical practice plan has now been split between Thursday and Saturday’s sessions. While Friday is consider a “regeneration day”.

Here’s how McCarthy explained the thought process behind this practice change during a press conference on Thursday via the team’s official YouTube channel.

“It’s more of a track and field approach. It just really trusting the data and the training methods to help guys recover before they go into a competition … with the practice on Saturday we’re launching the neurological clocks of each player. It takes them into the game with their nervous system already active and ready to go as opposed to coming off a traditional Saturday practice where you don’t practice.”

For fans tired of the rigid consistency displayed by the Cowboys under previous head coach Jason Garrett, McCarthy’s methods are likely a breath of fresh air. But the true test will be if these changes result in winning more football games or not.

McCarthy and his new coaching staff in Dallas were presented with some unique challenges to overcome this offseason. On top of installing the normal changes that occur when introducing a new head coach and staff to an NFL franchise, this latest regime faced an entirely virtual offseason program, the cancellation of all preseason games, and a truncated training camp due to a worldwide pandemic.

While every NFL team faced similar obstacles in preparation for the regular season this year, under Mike McCarthy, the Dallas Cowboys seem to be finding some creative ways to ready themselves. Now, fans will get to watch and see if these kinds of changes can give America’s Team an edge on gamedays.