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Cowboys Shorten Practice To Ease Players’ Stress: ‘You Have To Practice What You Preach’

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Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy says he realizes the stress the players are under, especially with the holiday season, and with the team’s recent successes … the team will be putting in less work during this week.

“If you took our schedule from Week 1 to this week, it would be 90 minutes shorter,” McCarthy explained. “Frankly, you have to practice what you preach: physical, mental, emotional stress is additive. So being in tune with that, and just stress that the players go through later in the year is higher. You’ve got to recognize the holiday season and handling success. I mean, we’re having success as a football team. We have individuals that are having success, probably higher than they may have in the past. So you have to handle those things and it just– it’s not just a PowerPoint presentation. The ability to make it flow as part of your workday, I think it’s real important.”

While COVID concerns have prompted the league to move to virtual — and sometimes shorter — meetings, Cowboys Wire reports that McCarthy admits that’s just as much a product of the calendar.

“We can get our work done Wednesday and Thursday [and then] Friday, still be done by 1:00 o’clock, 1:15,” McCarthy said. “Christmas Eve is a big night, too. I think it’s important for guys to get out of here relatively early. We’re not going to do the [soft-tissue activation and acceleration] program because of the social distancing. So they’ll be gone probably an hour earlier than they normally are. And then on Christmas, I think it’s important for everybody to be home in the morning.”

McCarthy said the team will come in the late afternoon and have a practice. He said because the game is Sunday night, the team moved their meetings to Sunday morning.

“So everybody will be home for Christmas,” he said. “They’ll come here 3:00 o’clock and they’ll be home by 5:00. Everybody will be home for dinner. I think that’s a great Christmas Day schedule.”

In terms of availability, safety Malik Hooker is now in the league’s COVID-19 protocol, joining running back JaQuan Hardy on the Reserve/COVID list, the team said Thursday.

The team also announced that wide receiver Simi Fehoko (illness), safety Israel Mukuamu (illness) and cornerback Nahshon Wright (illness) were added to Thursday’s practice report and did not practice. Tyron Smith did not practice again Thursday, but McCarthy said Smith would try to ramp up his rehab.

The team said Tuesday that two assistant coaches — assistant special teams coordinator Matt Daniels and defensive line coach Aden Durde — were placed in COVID protocol. While defensive tackle Trysten Hill is still in COVID protocol as of Wednesday, defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa was cleared to return from the list that day.

With San Francisco‘s 20-17 loss to Tennessee on Thursday night, the Cowboys officially clinched a playoff berth. Currently, Dallas is the NFC’s No. 2 seed behind the Packers (11-3), and the team has a chance to win the NFC East this weekend. 

The Cowboys (10-4) will face the Washington Football Team (6-8) on Sunday at home and host the Arizona Cardinals (10-4) in Week 17’s matchup on Jan. 2. Dallas will travel to Philadelphia to face the Eagles (7-7) on Jan. 9 to wrap up the regular season.

Follow Meg Turner on Twitter @Megnturner_ and Instagram @Megnturner.


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Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter at @Megnturner_ and Instagram at @Megnturner.

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