The Dallas Cowboys are continuing to deal with the spread of COVID-19 in their organization. This time it’s their coach, Mike McCarthy. The Cowboys announced on Monday that McCarthy tested positive and will not be with the team in person as they prepare for Thursday’s game against the New Orleans Saints and he will not be on the sidelines.
They will also be without starting right tackle Terence Steele as well as offensive line coach Joe Philbin, assistant O-line coach Jeff Blasko, offensive assistant Scott Tolzien, and potentially all three strength coaches — Harold Nash Jr., Cedric Smith, and Kendall Smith. The Cowboys held all of their meetings virtually on Monday and have not announced which assistant will assume head coaching duties on Thursday night.
This comes on the heels of wide receiver Amari Cooper missing the Cowboys’ last two games with COVID. He is expected to practice this week and play on Thursday.
First and foremost is the concern for the health and safety of the team. Recently, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid missed nine games with COVID. He returned to the court on Saturday for the first time since Nov. 8, and detailed some of his struggles to the media after the game. He said that breathing was a struggle and he had “headaches worse than migraines.” His vaccination status is unclear.
On the field, the Cowboys still have a sizable lead in the NFC East, but have the worst record of all four division leaders in their conference and have lost two consecutive games. They have been dealing with injuries all season long on defense, at the offensive line, and with their skill position players.
A COVID outbreak in November is the last thing the Cowboys needed, but at least they’re taking steps to try and slow down, if not eliminate, the spread. They haven’t reached that danger zone the NFL discussed earlier in the season that could result in a cancellation and forfeit for the team whose outbreak caused it.
Now the Cowboys just have to prepare, wait, and hope that when it comes time to get on the plane to New Orleans there will be no more surprises as to who will and who won’t be on the field Thursday night at the Superdome.