McCarthy says Cowboys are 'not living in' last year's Wild Card exit ahead of Bucs clash

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Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy says his side are "not living in" last year's premature playoffs exit ahead of their Wild Card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday.

The Cowboys crashed out of last year's postseason with a 23-17 Wild Card game loss to the San Francisco 49ers after topping the NFC East and finishing as the conference third seed.

McCarthy, who was assured of his job irrespective of Sunday's result earlier this week by owner Jerry Jones, is also seeking his first playoff win in three seasons with the Cowboys.

"We're not living in it, that's for sure," McCarthy told reporters when asked if last year's Wild Card exit had been discussed in the lead-up to Monday's game. "We've acknowledged it.

"The thing that we're really focused on is what we've done, who we are and making sure we have our plan as tight as possible going into this game to do what we need to do to win this game.

"We've had time for the theme speeches, they've been good triggers to talk about, as far as secret wound of losing a playoff game. We've definitely experienced that.

"We talked about the buffalos running through the storm and resiliency. That has served us well, all those experiences are the gold in our concierge. That's really who we are.

"The reality is we're not getting super philosophical, it's a ridiculously long answer here. The reality of it is we need to make sure our focus is tight and we're going into Tampa to win a game on the road against an outstanding football team."

The Cowboys finished the 2022 regular season with a 12-5 record, although they lost two of their final four games, including an uninspiring 26-6 defeat to the Washington Commanders last Sunday.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has thrown an interception in each of the past seven games, including eight in their past five.

"Like how we function internally, we're evaluating everything we do," McCarthy said about Prescott. "Every walk-through, if there's a correction, every practice, you're always correcting to improve.

"That's part of your application and evaluation process. The things that haven’t gone well are the things you learn most from and that's life. That is our gold… We'll be ready to go."