When the Cowboys offense sputtered early on in 2018, it was a combination of lack of weapons and lack of creativity which received the blame. But after trading for Amari Cooper and going “all-in” on the Dak Prescott era, the Cowboys decided they’d done enough to reasonably improve their offensive weapons.
It then became about bringing a fresh perspective to their scheme, preparation, and play-calling on Sundays. The Cowboys decided to fire offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, and promote first year quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore to the OC job. Then, they brought back former backup quarterback Jon Kitna as the QB coach.
These changes made the coaching staff in charge of the Cowboys’ passing game very young. And while inexperienced in their roles, both Kitna and Moore have been praised repeatedly for their football acumen.
And the more they speak with the media about their plans and ideas for the Cowboys offense, the more their smarts shine through. Moore has talked about keeping the defense on their toes with pre-snap motion and different looks/formations. Running the same set of plays but with the window dressing around it to confuse and complicate things for defenders.
Jon Kitna has talked about how impressed he is with Dak Prescott’s mindset and work ethic, speaking to specific areas in which he feels his ability as a coach will improve the young quarterback’s game.
Most importantly, though, they seem to have gained the player’s respect already. Something Linehan seemed to be lacking towards the end of his tenure in Dallas.
Rookie running back Tony Pollard called Kellen Moore both a “phenom” and a “genius.” High praise, yes, but Pollard being the messenger here seems important as well. Reports out of Dallas made Tony Pollard seem like Kellen Moore’s “guy,” a versatile receiving back who Moore sees potential in all over his offense.
Maybe Pollard is hearing what the plans for him in Dallas are, and is getting on board with the offensive coordinator’s plan.
Kitna said his playing career is invaluable: I’m not gonna sit back here w/ a clicker & go ‘Come on, that’s easy.’ … The fact I can tell them, I’ve already paid that cost for you. You don’t even need to look at that route when we get this coverage.
New blood among the offensive decision makers has been overdue for the Cowboys for quite some time. And while Kitna and Moore both have Cowboys ties, their ideas and philosophies are not the same as their predecessors. At least, their early comments point to this being the case.
This offense seems to be heading in the right direction, both personnel and coaching wise. And considering how volatile defensive performance is from year to year, making sure you can pass the ball efficiently is the most important aspect of success in the modern NFL.