Ezekiel Elliott emerged as arguably the best running back in the NFL under Jason Garrett. Faced with the first coaching change of his career, though, Elliott seems optimistic about the Mike McCarthy era taking the Cowboys to new heights.
"I think it will be weird, something that I'm not used to," Elliott said, per Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News. "But change is hard, but sometimes good. Sometimes you need change. We'll see what we have going for us."
The Cowboys fired Garrett earlier this month after he spent a decade at the helm, leading the franchise to three division championships. Garrett has moved on to become the Giants' offensive coordinator, while Dallas plucked an experienced coach in McCarthy to take the reins of a team that underperformed in 2019.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith complimented Garrett's ability to keep calm amid the pressure in Dallas.
"It's going to be weird because you're so used to Jason and one thing I loved about Jason, he's the ultimate, consistent [person]," Smith said. "Never high, never low, just [clapping]—that's him. He always stayed true to himself, I respect him for that. I learned a lot from Jason, looking forward to what's next."
McCarthy spent 13 seasons with the Packers before being fired with three games remaining in the 2018 season. He spent 2019 out of football, engrossing himself in football analytics that he hopes will improve an offense that felt stale toward the end of his Green Bay tenure.
Even so, offense was not a problem last season in Dallas. The Cowboys led the NFL in yards gained, with nearly 400 more yards than any other team during the regular season. Improving red-zone percentage is more paramount than any major schematic changes, and that tends to fluctuate year-over-year. McCarthy's Cowboys may put more points on the board by virtue of a mean regression alone.
Regardless, it's clear a new voice was needed in Dallas.