Predictable. The most commonly used word regarding the Dallas Cowboys offense the past few years under former Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan. It had gotten to the point that fans worldwide on all social media platforms would display their displeasure with the offensive scheme weekly, rather if the team won or lost. Instead of looking outside of the organization, the Cowboys instead looked within and promoted Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator.
His communication skills are a big reason why he’s in the position to take the Cowboys offense to the next level. “At the end of the day, work together with everyone. I think that includes the coaching staff, obviously coach Garrett and the rest of the staff. I think you also got to get some input from the players. It doesn’t mean you have to go down those roads all the time, but I think it’s important that when a player believes in something and they’re pretty convinced on it, usually they find a way to make it work,” Moore said.
A very wise approach from the first year captain of the offensive ship. The more involved your players are in the preparation aspect of the game the more confident they’ll come to be on Sunday’s. Let’s face it, everyone likes to feel they’re a part of something right?
Let’s start with the most important position on the field, quarterback. Dak Prescott set an NFL record for the highest completion percentage for a quarterback in his first three seasons at 66.1, so the accuracy is there. He’s not just a threat with his arm, but also his legs. Too many times under Scott Linehan this offense could have used Prescott’s running ability in short yardage, but instead opted to run the same old tired formations and plays. Look for Moore to utilize this aspect of Prescott’s game more. Also, he’s a winner. His 32 victories since 2016 are tops in the NFL for any quarterback not named Tom Brady.
Prescott praised the innovation of his new play caller and how he can bring new life to the offense.
“Moore can be crazy creative. From the time he was a player to his time now, he sits over there, we’re watching plays and he’ll draw a play up and say, ‘Hey, this is a compliment of that.’ I mean that was the main reason I pushed for him to be the quarterback coach in the first place because I knew the intelligence he has in the game, how smart he is, how creative he can be. He’s a phenom when it comes to the game,” Prescott told the Dallas Morning News.
Ezekiel Elliott is your All-Pro at the running back position. With two rushing titles in his first three years and a league-high 98.3 yards per game average in the one year he didn’t, he sets the tone for the entire unit. With almost 5 yards per rush on first down for his career, this gives Kellen Moore plenty of options when it comes to keeping the chains moving. Play action, roll outs, screens, slants, and misdirection run plays can all be used with a short down and distance to go. Also, in 2018 he showed off yet another facet of his game, pass catching. He caught 77 passes which is an extremely high number for a running back. Now, not only can he beat up defenses with his running ability, he can keep them honest with his threat in the passing game. Nothing like an all-purpose ball carrier.
There’s an added wrinkle at the running back position, and that’s rookie Tony Pollard. The former Memphis Tiger is a dynamic playmaker with the ability to put six points on the board at any given time. He averaged a touchdown every thirteen touches in college, an insanely high percentage. He lined up not only at running back but receiver as well, catching 104 passes. Not to mention, he tied an NCAA record with seven kick return touchdowns. With his speed and ability to produce at multiple positions, you can bet Kellen Moore is excited about his new offensive toy.
Amari Cooper leads the attack at the wide receiver position. After being acquired midseason in 2018, he would change life dramatically for Dak Prescott and the offense, as they won seven of their final eight games. He can carve up defenses in multiple ways. His speed allows him to blow the top off the defense down the field. Also, because of his exceptional route running, you can line him up in the slot and eat up the middle of the field. He provides so many options with his skill set.
Michael Gallup has the size, speed, and athleticism you want at receiver. As a rookie, he finished with 33 receptions for 507 yards and 2 touchdowns. Considering it was clear that his chemistry with Dak Prescott was hit or miss at times these numbers are pretty encouraging. You’re talking about a guy that could be an 800 plus yard second option once said chemistry is reached. Plus, with the addition of Randall Cobb in free agency, this gives the offense an added threat in the slot, creating plenty of one-on-one opportunities for Gallup.
Randall Cobb was signed in March to sure up the slot receiver spot. Unlike Cole Beasley, he isn’t limited to just being on the inside, he can play either outside position as well. This allows Kellen Moore to move around each of his three main receivers and take advantage of their unique skill sets. The more ways you can get your weapons the ball the more effective your offense will be.
Tight End Jason Witten came of retirement for his sixteenth season. Looking slimmer and faster according to people in the building, the future Hall of Famer will provide a safety net for Dak Prescott on third downs, and added blocking for Ezekiel Elliott.
Blake Jarwin finished the 2018 season strong against the New York Giants. Catching 7 passes for 119 yards and 3 touchdowns. However, with Witten back as the starter, it’ll be interesting to see how he’s implemented under Kellen Moore’s creative style of offense.
The Cowboys have a plethora of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. After years of predictability under Scott Linehan, Kellen Moore is looking to open up the offense with his creativity and more input from his players. He has a quarterback who is a winner, the best running back in the league, a top 10 receiver, a solid number two receiver, a former pro bowler in the slot and a tight end on his way to Canton. The ingredients are there, but there’s also uncertainty going forward. This is his first crack at being the puppet master of the offense, so they’ll be a learning curve to start. But make no mistake about it, you can expect a much more exciting and explosive offense from the Cowboys in 2019.