McCarthy-era Cowboys open on road vs. Rams

A pair of teams in the midst of change will take the field Sunday night amid the backdrop of a new $5 billion stadium as the Los Angeles Rams play host to the Dallas Cowboys at Inglewood, Calif.The Cowboys will usher in the head coaching era of Mike McCarthy, who takes over after Jason Garrett was fired. There will be no settling into the job, even after the Cowboys’ 8-8 season last year, since Dallas is considered one of the better teams in the NFC.The Rams are in the midst of some coaching changes as well following a 9-7 season that saw them miss the playoffs following a Super Bowl run.Head coach Sean McVay will have some new personnel to work with as Brandon Staley takes over at defensive coordinator from Wade Phillips, Kevin O’Connell takes over at offensive coordinator and John Bonamego is the replacement for John Fassel as special teams coordinator.On the field, Dak Prescott remains the Cowboys’ quarterback, with the exclusive franchise tag after negotiations for a long-term deal were unsuccessful, while Jared Goff remains under center in Los Angeles.Prescott, 27, continues to move forward after passing for 4,902 yards last season and 30 touchdowns, both career bests. He also has Ezekiel Elliott at running back and three big-play wide receivers in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and rookie CeeDee Lamb.McCarthy said he will put an emphasis on the early portion of the schedule, which includes a number of winnable home games through October against teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals.”I think a number of teams lose games early in the season as opposed to getting beat,” McCarthy said. “We need to focus on the things we have accomplished in training camp. Our expectation is to keep the focus tight, win today and prepare to win in Los Angeles Sunday night.”Goff, 25, appeared to regress last season with 4,638 yards passing, 22 TDs and a career-high 16 interceptions. He tied for the league lead in passing attempts, but his yards were 50 less than in 2018 and he had 10 less TDs.”Of course you always want to get better from the year before — and statistically speaking it wasn’t my best year,” Goff said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “And I do want to play better. I do want to be more efficient. I do want to get the ball to receivers a little bit better, and I expect to, and expect to stay on an upward trajectory.”

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