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Game Notes

Kellen Moore: Reviewing His 1st Cowboys Game

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Cowboys Blog - Kellen Moore film review

After weeks of fans dreaming of his number being called, Jason Garrett finally made the switch to Kellen Moore in the first half of Saturday night's game. It was the first regular-season playing time in the former Boise State standout's 4-year career. Watching him play there were moments when it was evident this was his first time playing, but also some plays that surprised me with both his throws and decision making. Garrett has already committed to Moore going forward.

Let's take a look at how he fared this past Saturday.

Positives

To Moore's credit, I saw something I have not seen from our offense since the NYG game on October 25th; the Offense's ability to maintain drives with a backup quarterback. This had a lot to do with Kellen Moore and his trust and gutsiness with his arm. Moore was not perfect by any means but showed the ability to escape the rush, get out of the pocket, and deliver a throw on the run. The game also seemed to slow down for him as each series went by, getting better and better and trusting what he sees. It’s very obvious that Moore does not have the best arm strength in the world, however, he knows that as well.

One of the best things about Moore watching this game is that he understands his limitations. There were several plays where Moore's first read is a hitch or a comeback route, and although the receiver has some separation, he opts not to throw the ball. This is not something we are used to seeing as Cowboy fans, one of Tony Romo’s best gifts and maybe his biggest curse is he thinks he can make any throw. This has led to some amazing Romo magic, but also, some head-scratching Interceptions. Moore has a great feel for his arm and the throws he can and cannot make.

My favorite play in this game was a 3rd and 4 with 7:53 left in the game. The Cowboys spread them out and the Jets showed a cover-2 look. The Jets switch it up after the snap, bringing one safety down to cover Jason Witten and play cover-1 over the top. Cole Beasley beats his man, but because the Jets are playing a zone in the middle of the field, the man initially covering Witten steps into the passing lane in front of Beasley. I don’t believe Moore saw this, because if he had I doubt he would have thrown it, regardless with pressure in his face, Kellen Moore delivers a strike about two inches in front of the outstretched defender's fingertips and into the hands of Beasley for a first down. It was by far his best throw of the night into a very tight window.

Weaknesses

Well first and foremost, it is never acceptable or realistic to throw 3 interceptions in a game, one being in the red zone. You can't do that and expect to win a ball game.  Let's start with the first one thrown in the second quarter.

The Cowboys spread the jets out, and the Jets bring one safety down in the box with the other out wide ready to double up Dez Bryant. Beasley, Witten, and Terrance Williams all have man single coverage split out on the opposite side of the field. When the ball is snapped the safety shaded towards Dez drops back to play center field. Williams actually beats his man and is open early in the route, However due to the pressure, Moore must avoid the rush, thus allowing Williams to carry up-field too long and the safety to make a play on the ball. After taking his eyes off the secondary to avoid the rush, Moore must read the secondary again. He seemingly chucks the ball up blindly, leading to a big play for the Jets.

On Kellen Moore's Second interception of the night, I believe it was the result of him trying to force the ball to Dez in the red zone. S Calvin Pryor is playing zone coverage in the middle of the field. Dez is drawing the attention of two defenders while Witten, Gavin Escobar, and Beasley are seeing single coverage. Had Moore gone through his reads and surveyed the entire field it would have been an easy 6 for the offense. Beasley had his man beat so bad that Antonio Cromartie had fallen to the floor and Escobar beat his man in the corner of the endzone. We as fans are often critical of the QB for not targeting Dez, but this is one scenario I wish he hadn't.

On the last interception of the night, I give Moore a freebie. With 24 seconds left, down by 3 on your own 33-yard line with no timeouts, it is perfectly reasonable to throw a hail mary. He gave his best player a chance to make a play on a 50-50 ball; how many times have we seen 88 come down with that?

Overview

I believe Kellen Moore had a productive game for his first real NFL action. He didn't light the world on fire, by any means, but he did put some drives together and moved the football. Moore is a very smart quarterback who usually sees the field well. I believe the 2 interceptions where he didn't see the safeties were a result of him not being used to the speed of the game. I expect him to learn from his mistakes and get better with each opportunity he's given. He has clear limitations, but his football smarts and instincts are enough for him to be a productive QB, at least for the time being.



Hello, My name's James. I'm a senior in highschool and have been a Dallas Cowboys fan my whole life. If I'm not reading, watching, or talking about football, I'm playing rugby!

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12 Comments
  • http://PigskinHub.com Zac Fields

    I thought Moore performed admirably, but frankly I was shocked to wake up on Sunday morning to see all the hype on him. It made me wonder if I had watched the same game as everyone else did.

    I saw all the things you saw. Honestly I think the main thing with Moore is that he seems to be a little more laid back and poised than Weeden or Cassel were.

    I'll repeat what I've said before, though: there's really not much this guy can do to sway me from my belief that they need to draft somebody in April if they get the opportunity. Best-case scenario is that he has a couple 300-yard, 3-touchdown and zero interception games to close out this season. Even then, are you willing to stake the team's future on that little amount of evidence if we're on the clock in April with Jared Goff sitting there for the taking?

    I honestly view Moore as a backup option or potentially trade-bait. Maybe my tune will change after seeing some more of him, but I doubt it. I still think they have to be looking at a top-tier quarterback in one of the next two drafts.

  • http://PigskinHub.com Zac Fields

    I will say my favorite part about Moore getting put in the game early on was all the pissing and moaning Cowboys fans were doing when Jason Garrett said last week that he didn't have any intentions of playing Moore.

    When has Jason Garrett ever been known to give the media any useful information to share with the fans? He is a master of dealing with reporters in a way that minimizes any potential story. Everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt, just like Jerry Jones.

    • James Robertello

      I agree, I don't think Kellen Moore's performance, regardless of how good, should change the teams plans for drafting a quarterback.

  • cjprine

    I don't know what anyone was expecting from a guy that got limited work with the first team, and has never played in a NFL game! Personally I saw a confident poised QB- looked completely different than that of weeden and at times of cassell!

    I think we can slow the next franchise QB thing! He had quite a bit of flaws BUT if you remember Tony took 3 yrs before he took over the team! I think he has the potential to be a manager of the game, not a strong arm going to sling it if you will, but more of an educated passer! Just my thoughts

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    • James Robertello

      Cj, I agree that he was able to move the ball better then we had previously seen from either backup. Yes, Tony ended up being a franchise quarterback, but I think the physical limitations for Moore make he ceiling a good backup.

  • James Robertello

    After weeks of fans dreaming of his number being called, Jason Garrett finally made the switch to Kellen Moore in the first half of Saturday night’s game. It was the first regular-season playing time in the former Boise State standout’s 4-year career. Watching him play there were moments when it was evident this was his first time playing, but also some plays that surprised me with both his throws and decision making. Garrett has already committed to Moore going forward. Let’s take a look at how he fared this past Saturday. Positives To Moore’s credit, I saw something I have not seen from our offense since the NYG game on October 25th; the Offense’s ability to maintain drives with a backup quarterback. This had a lot to do with Kellen Moore and his trust and gutsiness with his arm. Moore was not perfect by any means but showed the ability to
    Read the whole post here.

  • Randy

    I was pleased with the way Moore looked. He showed great pocket awareness, his throws were sharp and crisp, did a pretty good job of going through his progressions, other than where you noted and I'm close ups in the huddle he looked confident and in command. There is definitely reason for optimism and I believe he will learn from those mistakes and grow. I look forward to seeing what he does this week with the whole week to prepare as the #1.

    • James Robertello

      I agree with all you said. Will definitely be interesting next week.

  • George Johnson

    Good analysis. I am pleased with K Moore's play because his physical limitations were not much of a factor which were the basis of 32 team's draft experts not drafting K Moore. He failed at one of his greatest strengths; using his QB smarts for good decisions/minimizing mistakes, which is actually a good sign, not because of a physical failure which would be a bad sign and indicator the draft experts were right. These two big time mistakes were probably because of the things you said in your analysis such as he needs to adjust to the speed of NFL 1st team defenses which he has little experience with. I am still a little puzzled/baffled by these first two interceptions. A QB as smart as K Moore knows where the safeties are at all times. I hope and pray it was just an aberration on Moore's part. I am expecting a better performance in Moore's next game after a week of 1st team reps and against a Buffalo team without as strong of defense as the Jets.

    • James Robertello

      Thanks for reading George, not very easy to start your first ever game against the jets pass rush and defense as a whole. Looking forward to next week.

  • cjprine

    My thoughts exactly James I think if he plays within his physical ability and not try to do too much he can be quality QB

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • maxdallasfan

    The kid will be a serviceable backup. Ala a player who once wore #17.

    The only way this team drafts a QB is if Jerry can't work a trade for Johnny. Most likely though, Johnny will be a Cowboy.

    Therefore, for the next 3 to 4 years, our QB depth chart will be Romo, Johnny, Moore/Late round Rook

Game Notes

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks: Inside The Numbers

John Williams

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Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: DT David Irving 2

The Dallas Cowboys will travel to the Pacific Northwest this weekend to face the Seattle Seahawks in an important game for both teams in the NFC race.

The Seattle Seahawks are 0-2 and risk being buried in an NFC West that has seen the Los Angeles Rams become the divisional power. With the San Francisco 49ers trending up, the Seahawks might find themselves left behind. On Monday Night Football, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks had little answers for a Chicago Bears team that has one of the more underrated defenses in the NFL. Well, maybe not so underrated now. They battered Wilson and the Seahawks offensive line for six sacks and were able to pressure him into an interception they were able to return for a touchdown.

The Dallas Cowboys rebounded from a week one disappointment to take care of business against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. It wasn't a pretty win on offense, save for the first and last drives of the game, but it was a solid win. The defense dominated the New York Giants' offensive line and left them searching for answers at 0-2.

As we get ready for week three let's go Inside The Numbers for yet another important matchup for the Dallas Cowboys.

Team Breakdown

The Dallas Cowboys lead the all-time series 10-8, but have dropped the last two matchups and are 2-3 over the last five games. They've split the last two meetings that played in Seattle, winning the most recent showdown in 2014, 30-23.

If you'll remember, that was the game that had us all believing that Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray led Cowboys team was for real. Sadly the 2014 season ended with the typical heartbreak that we've grown accustomed to in the last 23 years.

Let's take a look at how the matchup breaks down on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

Offense

The Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks offenses are eerily similar statistically as both rank near the bottom in most offensive categories.

Dallas Cowboys at the Seattle Seahawks: Inside The Numbers 2As you can see from the chart above, there aren't many categories where either team ranks inside the top 20 in total offense.

Offensive Observations

  • The Dallas Cowboys have a decided advantage along the offensive line. They rank inside the top 15 in rush yards, rush TDs, first downs on the ground, and have allowed fewer sacks than the Seattle Seahawks offensive line.
  • The Dallas Cowboys have been excellent through two games at protecting the ball, having only turned it over one time; a fumble by Dak Prescott in the week one loss to the Carolina Panthers.
  • Through two games, the Seahawks haven't rushed for a touchdown. They haven't run it often and haven't run it very well either. They only average 3.6 yards per attempt on the ground. Advantage Cowboys. 
  • While the Seahawks have thrown for more yards this season, Dak Prescott has a better completion percentage. For the year, Russell Wilson has completed only 59.4% of his passes. Dak Prescott is at 64.8%.

Defense

It's on the defensive side of the ball where the Dallas Cowboys have a decided advantage, particularly with their pass rush.

Dallas Cowboys at the Seattle Seahawks: Inside the Numbers

As you can see, the Dallas Cowboys have the statistical edge in nearly every category.

Defensive Observations

  • The Dallas Cowboys rank in the top five in several defensive categories including points allowed, yards allowed, yards per play, passing yards allowed, passing touchdowns, net yards per attempt, first downs achieved through the air, and sacks.
  • Where the Dallas Cowboys have struggled in the first two games, particularly against the Carolina Panthers was against the run. Though they're around the middle of the pack through two games, the Panthers were able to find a lot of success on the ground. The New York Giants, not so much.
  • The Cowboys are going to have to continue to be careful with the football as the Seattle Seahawks continue to be one of the best at creating turnovers, especially in the secondary. They're tied for first in the NFL in interceptions with five. Through two games, Prescott hasn't thrown one, but he's had a couple potential interceptions dropped. This week he won't be so lucky.

What it All Means

The Dallas Cowboys are going to have a pretty difficult challenge corralling Seahawks' Quarterback Russell Wilson, but the numbers seem to point to it being a long afternoon for Wilson.

The Dallas Cowboys have a decided advantage when the Seahawks drop back to pass. The Seattle offensive line has allowed the most sacks in the NFL. Coming off allowing six sacks to the Chicago Bears, Wilson could be in for another long day against a Dallas Cowboys defense that is second in the NFL -- to the Chicago Bears -- in sacks with nine.

The Seattle Seahawks won't be able to rely on their running game to keep the Dallas Cowboys defense off balance as they only average 3.4 yards per carry through the first two weeks of the season. If the Cowboys can get an early lead this Sunday, it will present a really favorable opportunity for the Dallas Cowboys pass rush.

Dallas Cowboys vs Seattle Seahawks Stat Notes

0

Dak Prescott hasn't thrown an interception this season. If we can make any observations through two games, it's that he seems to be back to his ball protection ways. As a rookie, Prescott only through four interceptions, before doubling that in 2017 with eight.

2

Cole Beasley and Deonte Thompson are tied for 27th in the NFL in yards per route run. That number is better than Stefon Diggs of the Minnesota Vikings, Golden Tate of the Detroit Lions, Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers, and Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

3

The Seattle Seahawks have had a hard time getting to opposing passers and have collected only three sacks through the NFL's first two weeks. Prescott was sacked six times in week one, but the Dallas Cowboys offensive line rebounded to keep the New York Giants from collecting a sack in week two.

4

Tyler Lockett has played 53 of his 79 offensive snaps from the slot, but has only been targeted four times, catching four passes for 85 yards. His 1.60 yards per route run out of the slot is tied for 11th in the NFL among players who have played at least 50% of their snaps from the slot.

13.5

Seattle Defensive Lineman Jarran Reed has been the best run defender for the Seahawks, earning a run stop on 13.5% of his run snaps. Overall he sits eighth in the NFL. Among defensive lineman with at least 50% of their team's run snaps, only Da'Shawn Hand and Linval Joseph have a better run stop percentage.

19

The amount of snaps per reception allowed by Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Anthony Brown. No player who has played at least 50% of his coverage snaps in the slot has a higher snap per reception rate in the NFL than Brown's 19.

36.4

According to Pro Football Focus, Wilson's been sacked on 36.4% of his drop backs this season. Only Ryan Tannehill and Nathan Peterman have a worse percentage of players who have dropped back to pass a minimum of 22 times this season.

Wilson's been under pressure on 38.8% of his drop backs, which is sixth in the NFL.

80.4

Dak Prescott's adjusted completion percentage, which "accounts for factors that hurt the passer's completion percentage but don't help show how accurate they are," per Pro Football Focus and "It accounts for dropped passes, throw aways, spiked balls, batted passes, and passes where the QB was hit while they threw the ball."

Prescott's adjusted completion percentage is ninth in the NFL. Better than notable names such as Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ben Roethlisberger, DeShaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Jared Goff, Matthew Stafford, and Andrew Luck.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

As I look at the run down for this game and after watching these two teams in week two, I see this as a very favorable matchup for the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously, statistics don't tell the whole story, but the Dallas Cowboys biggest strength, it's pass rush, will be facing a Seattle team that is very weak along the offensive line.

This looks to be a Dallas Cowboys win that will improve them to 2-1.



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Game Notes

Snap Judgments: Cowboys’ Linebacker Depth Stands Out in Win

John Williams

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Snap Judgments: Cowboys' Linebacker Depth Stands Out in Win

The Dallas Cowboys evened their record at 1-1 with their 20-13 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night. The Cowboys linebackers had a huge impact on the outcome of the game and it wasn't just the guys at the top of the depth chart either. America's Team got contributions from guys at the bottom of the depth chart.

What a difference a year makes.

The Dallas Cowboys worked hard this offseason to fix the linebacker depth that failed them in the 2017 season. When Sean Lee or Anthony Hitchens -- or both -- were sidelined with injuries, Jaylon Smith, Damien Wilson, and the rest of the linebacker group struggled to keep up with opposing offenses. Specifically, in games against the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers the major depth inadequacy was revealed.

One year later, the Dallas Cowboys have a linebacker corp that allows them to go five deep with Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Joe Thomas, and Damien Wilson all making considerable contributions for the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday nights victory.

Here are the final snap counts for the five linebackers that played a defensive snap against the Giants.

  • Jaylon Smith - 57 (84%)
  • Sean Lee - 41 (60)
  • Leighton Vander Esch - 28 (48%)
  • Damien Wilson - 17 (25%)
  • Joe Thomas - 14 (21%)

Jaylon Smith led the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night with 10 tackles (seven solo) and played really well roaming sideline to sideline and making plays. He was tasked with the difficult assignment of containing New York Giants Running Back Saquon Barkley and allowed four catches for 41 yards in his coverage area. Smith was credited with three stops or plays that result in a "loss" for the offense (per Pro Football Focus).  Smith led the team in snaps for the second straight week.

Sean Lee had a better game on Sunday night than he did in week one. PFF credited him with four stops, four tackles and an assist. Lee allowed two catches for 24 yards on two targets to Wayne Gallman and Evan Engram. Lee pulled his hamstring at the end of the game and was held out the rest of the way for precautionary reasons. He'll be an interesting name to watch on this week's injury report. Age catches up with everyone, but hopefully Sean Lee can stave it off for at least another season.

Rookie Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch saw a big bump in his snap count from week one (17) to week two (28). The rookie played well too. As many players seemed to struggle with tackling Saquon Barkley, Vander Esch was able to bring down the number two overall pick on several occasions. Vander Esch had seven solo tackles in his second career game.

Damien Wilson was the surprise player of the night. He had three tackles on the night, including one on special teams, a sack, and a forced fumble. Though his time on the field might have been short, his impact was certainly felt. His forced fumble led to a field goal that gave the Dallas Cowboys a 13-0 nothing lead. Wilson was also credited with two stops on the night.

Joe Thomas has been a good player for the team off the bench as well. Though he only had one tackle, it was good enough to be credited with a stop. He's a player that can play both the WILL and MIKE linebacker spots. As the fourth or fifth linebacker on the depth chart, Thomas is a great role player.

Other Snap Count Notes

  • Taco Charlton may not have started, but he played 84% of the team's defensive snaps. That number is up from 73% in week one. Charlton had a sack, a hit, and a hurry as well as three stops on the night.
  • Cole Beasley and Allen Hurns led the wide receiver group in snap percentage from week one to week two. The big difference at wide receiver was seeing Michael Gallup take the third most snaps on offense instead of Deonte Thompson. Thompson still had the bigger impact with four catches for 33 yards on five targets including two for first downs.
  • Geoff Swaim was the far and away leader at tight end in snaps with a 94% snap count. Only the offensive line and Dak Prescott had more snaps on the night than Swaim. He's the TE1 for the team, though he didn't have an impact in the passing game.
  • Rico Gathers only played five snaps, but there was concerted effort to get him the ball as he had two targets in his five snaps. He may not have come away with a catch, but it's a start.
  • Jourdan Lewis continues to be the odd man out on defense. He only played one snap.
  • Dorance Armstrong saw a snap jump from week one to week two going from 28% of the defensive snaps to 40% of the snaps. He had two hurries and an assisted tackle.



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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Prescott’s Legs Give Offense a Much Needed Spark

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: Prescott's Legs Give Offense a Much Needed Spark

When the Dallas Cowboys took the field last Sunday against the New York Giants, they did so very differently than last week, starting with a 64-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to connect with WR Tavon Austin in the third play of the game. Although there are still many things this team must continue to work on, they looked like a very improved unit in week 2.

Here are my main takeaways from the Dallas Cowboys' first win of the year. Let me know what yours are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL and let's talk football!

Cowboys' Secondary Capable of Holding Top WR

If there was one player who could've changed the outcome for the New York Giants, it was WR Odell Beckham Jr. Widely recognized as one of the best wideouts in the nation, Beckham was the biggest challenge the cornerbacks, led by Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie, have had in the first two weeks.

None of them followed Beckham all over the field, each stayed on their side of the field and still managed to limit him to four receptions for 51 yards in nine targets. The Giant's offense is not known for being one of the best in the league, but it's the fact that this defense was able to limit exactly the player they needed to. They did their job.

Also, props to the defensive line for keeping the pressure on Eli Manning.

Monday Morning Hangover: Cowboys Bounce Back Against Giants

Taco Charlton Was Dominant VS Nate Solder

With Randy Gregory ruled out for the game, Taco Charlton had a golden opportunity to stay on the field for more snaps. He took advantage of this, as he finished the night with three tackles, one for a loss, a sack and a fumble recovery.

Charlton still has a long way to go in order to prove he was worthy of a first round pick, but we can't deny he hasn't stopped developing. It will be interesting to see how he does now that Gregory is expected to return for week 3.

Dak Prescott's Legs Give Offense a Needed Spark

One of the things I liked the most about the Cowboys' game versus the Giants was how Dak Prescott was utilized. Criticized after a poor performance in Carolina, Prescott came out with a chip on his shoulder.

We've been talking a lot about how Scott Linehan must play Prescott to his strengths and that's precisely what he did by letting Dak run for 45 yards in seven carries. It's completely understandable if the Cowboys don't want to run him as much as the Panthers do with Cam Newton, but the truth is, if #4 hurts defenses with his leg, Ezekiel Elliott won't receiver all of the defense's attention.

Also, shoutout to how they used Tavon Austin. With Elliott, Prescott and Austin being a threat on option plays, this offense could take a step on the right direction.

If Activated, Where Does Rico Gathers Fit Offensively?

Rico Gathers Will Be Used

The Cowboys' Rico Gathers project is moving in the right direction. The 2016 sixth-round pick was active for the first time in his career last Sunday. The first question that popped into our heads was whether or not he'd be actually used in the game. He was.

He even managed to get open in the end zone in a play that could've been TD but Prescott didn't throw a good pass. However, the mere fact that he was able to get open and that the coaches actually put him on the field told us a lot about his future. Cowboys Nation should be excited to see him involved.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Prescott’s Legs Give Offense a Much Needed Spark" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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