Mike McCarthy: Focus of change is on defense

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy’s first season on the job was not as successful as he or the team would have hoped and the play of the team’s defense is a big reason for that.

They set a franchise record for points allowed on the way to a 6-10 finish and McCarthy opened up a Thursday press conference by saying that the “focus of change” this offseason is going to be on the defensive side of the ball.

The first change on that front came when the Cowboys fired Mike Nolan and hired Dan Quinn as their new defensive coordinator. McCarthy called Quinn “a huge asset” to the team, which echoed executive vice president Stephen Jones’ belief that Quinn’s hiring was a “major step” in the right direction.

While change is the focus, McCarthy said he doesn’t view it as a “start over” situation and would like to build on some of the things that the team did right in the final weeks of the season. He also resisted labeling the defense as a 4-3 or 3-4 by saying they’ll build around the players in order to come up with a successful approach.

Getting that done would improve the chances that McCarthy’s second year in Dallas goes a lot better than the first.