Other than a few roster moves, the Dallas Cowboys have maintained the same personnel on offense from last season. The biggest change has been on the sideline, firing Scott Linehan and promoting Kellen Moore to Offensive Coordinator. By keeping most of the same talent in place, Dallas has reaffirmed their confidence in Moore to improve performance.
Consider wide receiver, where Dallas allowed a trusted target in Cole Beasley to leave in free agency. The replacement signing of Randall Cobb was a strong move but didn’t really move the needle from what Beasley offered. The Cowboys also re-signed Tavon Austin and kept Allen Hurns; the same basic cast returns from 2018.
Or how about tight end? Jason Witten’s back but Geoff Swaim’s gone, and some could argue that it’s a net-zero exchange at this point in Witten’s resurrected career. Dallas seems to be banking on the development of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz, which is bold to hand over such inexperienced players to a neophyte coach like Kellen.
The same can be said at running back, where at least so far the Cowboys have not added any established talent behind Ezekiel Elliott. Even Rod Smith, who was average at best, would be a possible upgrade over the guys they have now. If something happens to Zeke, or even if he just needs a breather here and there, Dallas has almost zero experience elsewhere on the RB depth chart.
On the offensive line, Dallas used a third-round pick on Connor McGovern and he ideally won’t play at all this season. Their biggest talent addition from 2018 comes from getting Travis Frederick back, but will that ripple effect be enough?
We can even look at fullback, of all places, for some further evidence. Jamize Olawale was a non-factor last year but still got re-signed to a three-year contract in March. You almost have to assume that Kellen Moore was behind that, promising he would be able to get more out of Olawale’s proven offensive skills than Linehan ever attempted to.
Clearly, Dallas thinks that the switch at offensive coordinator will do what no roster move could. They are putting a lot of eggs in the Kellen Moore basket, trusting in a fresh and youthful perspective to improve on Scott Linehan’s work.
With the draft over and free agency drying up, the Cowboys better hope they were right.