McCarthy to anonymous players: "It's important to handle things as men"

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DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) - Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy was thrust into his first major controversy as the coach of America's Team on Tuesday after Jane Slater of the NFL Network reported that multiple players had "lost faith" in the coaching staff.

"I think you do have to recognize it,'' said McCarthy after being asked about the report. "I really go back to my first meeting with the football team. I've always stated to every team I've coached, I think it's important to handle things as men. If you do have something to say publicly, I think it's important to say to the individual, particularly in a group setting. Especially in the game of football. That's all part of our development.

"You don't want to be stubborn (as a head coach) and do things just to do things. I think it's important for all of our players and coaches, and it's something I stated in our first meeting, let's just handle these things as men. 'Let's talk to one another. (I told them) 'I'm your guy.'

"I'll talk to anybody, in particular, in our inner circle. And I'll either agree or disagree with you. And I think that's important. At the end of the day it's about winning. We're in the business of putting players in a position to win."

The team's new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has been under fire for the unit's historically poor performance through the first six games of the season. The Joneses' and McCarthy have pointed to the fact that Nolan's scheme is different than the previous regime's, and because they didn't have a normal offseason or training camp, implementing it became more complicated.

“Definitely. It’s a change," McCarthy said when asked if the players believe in Nolan's scheme. "Frankly, we’re in the infant stages of it. ... That’s part of these first-year challenges."

Slater reported Tuesday that players had "initially bought into keeping things internal," but things changed after getting blown out by the Cardinals 38-10 on Monday Night Football.

One player called the coaching staff "totally unprepared," and that "they don't teach" or "have any sense of adjusting on the fly."

Another unnamed player said the Cowboys coaches "just aren't good at their jobs."

Later Tuesday, Slater joined the GBag Nation to discuss her report.

"It's one thing to lose players because you have so many injuries, and that just feels insurmountable, and these are key injuries, mind you. What I think is harder to get over is (there's) a lack of buy-in, and what seems like a lack of respect for this coaching staff. I don't know how you move past that," Slater said. "This is a team that is incredibly frustrated and has lost faith in this new group."

She later added that the issue isn't limited to the defensive side of the ball. When asked to speak further on players issues with the offense, Slater declined in order to protect her sources.

"The players aren't buying into this coaching staff, period. And something has got to change," she summed up.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stood behind his new coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in his appearance Tuesday morning on 105.3 The Fan.