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Ex-Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy preps Dallas Cowboys from home in Green Bay

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, center, is introduced by Chief Operating Officer Stephen Jones, left, and owner Jerry Jones during a press conference at the Dallas Cowboys headquarters on Jan. 8 in Frisco, Texas. (AP file photo)

Mike McCarthy has spent most of his first offseason as coach of the Dallas Cowboys at home in Green Bay.

He’s also leaning on the experience of 13 years leading the Packers to help figure out how to implement a new program while the coronavirus pandemic prevents him from being in the same room with players or assistant coaches.

Meantime, McCarthy sure is ready to get back to the Cowboys’ facility north of Dallas, particularly because live offseason practices would be happening now under normal circumstances.

“I have been with my family the whole time, except for maybe the first 10 days of the pandemic,” McCarthy said Wednesday in his first teleconference with reporters since the draft. “But I am anxiously preparing, frankly, to get back to Frisco as soon as possible. It’s time, I know, for me to get back.”

McCarthy replaced Jason Garrett in early January after the Cowboys fell short of lofty expectations by missing the playoffs in the former Dallas quarterback’s ninth full season.

After a year away from the game following his firing in Green Bay, McCarthy replaced most of the coaching staff and geared up for the draft.

Two weeks after that, the Cowboys had their virtual rookie minicamp and have spent recent weeks in virtual meetings with veterans and first-year players under the NFL’s pandemic guidelines.

McCarthy said the emphasis has been on terminology and overall philosophy as coaches wait for on-field instruction time. And that’s where the experience of previous, more traditional offseasons in Green Bay comes into play.

“This challenge has clearly made everyone — especially myself — take a step back,” McCarthy said. “Don’t react as fast as you may have in normal times. I think you’ve really got to trust your instincts, the awareness and your experience in this particular time as far as how we install and initiate the development and growth of our program.”

Quarterback Dak Prescott hasn’t been part of the virtual meetings because he hasn’t signed the $31 million one-year tender under the franchise tag and is using his absence as leverage to get a long-term deal. The deadline for a multiyear contract is July 15.

After winning a Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay nine years ago, McCarthy knows the development of his relationship with Prescott is among the highest priorities.

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