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Game Notes

Kellen Moore: Reviewing His 1st Cowboys Game



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.


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.


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?


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!

  • 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.

  • 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

Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles

Kevin Brady



Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There's no doubt the Dallas Cowboys passing game faltered in 2017. Though never expected to throw for many yards, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys failed to maximize their attempts down the stretch. The passing game was simply inefficient and ineffective.

One reason the passing game took a step back was the disappearance of slot receiver Cole Beasley. Whether you blame defenses adjusting their coverages on third downs towards Beasley, Beasley growing another year older, or quarterback Dak Prescott, Beasley simply didn't look like the same player in 2017.

In the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cowboys selected a wide out who many anticipate could replace Beasley, in time. Rookie wide receiver Ryan Switzer rarely got chances to make an impact on offense this season, designated as the return man for much of the year. With Cole Beasley out for the season finale, however, Switzer got his chance to make a name for himself.

While the numbers were far from gaudy, Ryan Switzer showed some things we should be excited about for the future.

dalvsphi2018 switzer - Streamable

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Ryan Switzer's first target came on a third down -- something Cowboys Nation should get used to heading into 2018. Switzer is lined up inside in trips on the near-side of the formation. The Eagles show man coverage pre-snap, and with just one safety over top and the other rotated down on top of Jason Witten, it is clear to Dak Prescott they plan to bring some pressure.

As soon as Prescott gets the snap, his eyes go to Ryan Switzer.

The cornerback plays Switzer with inside leverage, refusing to be beat with a hot slant route. Switzer instead keeps the defender on his back hip and creates separation with an out-breaking route.

Prescott delivers the ball towards the sideline where the defender can't catch up to it, and Switzer comes away with the first down.

dalvsphi2018 switzer 2 - Streamable

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Later in the game, we once again see Ryan Switzer targeted from this inside-alignment.

Switzer is a pretty prototypical slot receiver, and if used correctly he should win in man coverage situations often. The cornerback attempts to maintain inside leverage on Switzer and get physical at the top of his route. Ryan Switzer does a nice job of fighting through that physicality and crossing the defender's face over the middle. He flashes open pretty quickly, and Prescott delivers a strike for the completion.

If Switzer can create this type of separation often, I see no reason why he shouldn't be a focus of the offense in 2018.

dalvsphi2018 switzer 3 - Streamable

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Switzer's third target is actually an incompletion, but it is worth studying, regardless. Switzer is in the slot on the far side and the Cowboys once again are in trips alignment. The cornerback over Switzer is in man coverage, but gives him room to breathe at the line of scrimmage.

Switzer exploits the cornerback -- who is cheating to the inside -- with his footwork and route running. He gets to the sticks, breaks to the outside, and creates enough separation for a first-down completion. Prescott delivers the ball a bit late and behind Switzer, causing an incompletion instead.

I'd still like to see Switzer adjust to the ball and make this catch, but I put more of the blame for this play on Prescott.

With a full offseason to work within the offensive system, as well as to develop chemistry with quarterback Dak Prescott, Ryan Switzer will prove to be an important piece to the 2018 Dallas Cowboys.

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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game

Mauricio Rodriguez



Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer's Good Game 1
AP Photo / Michael Ainsworth

The Dallas Cowboys put an end to a long, long season last Sunday after they defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia in a game that had absolutely no meaning for either team. Surprisingly, the Cowboys played with their healthy starters most of the game, but were barely able to put six points on the board, which were enough to take the win home.

The Cowboys might've lost more than what they actually won, and most of the fans were unhappy with the victory. Despite it being a pretty boring football game, we still learned a few things about the Dallas Cowboys.

The season's finally over. It wasn't easy, but we're still here. Here's to 2018. Let's hope it's a good one for our Cowboys. Here's this week's edition of Takeaway Tuesday!

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Coaching Staff Didn't Help Its Cause

It's more than fair to say that a lot of us want to see changes in Dallas. And specifically, changes in the coaching staff. After the Cowboys were eliminated from playoff contention, Jerry Jones said Jason Garrett's job was not an issue. Now, Jerry's even talking about Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan being back in 2018. Who knows if it's true.

While I don't think we'll see a new head coach anytime soon, I'd dare say that after the horrible game versus Philadelphia the front office at least got to thinking.

Dak Prescott, Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, HC Jason Garrett

Coming into this game, the team had a choice to make: play with the starters to win it, or let guys like Cooper Rush in the game and see what happens. A loss would've meant a better draft position for the Cowboys and a chance to see what rookies and other young players could bring to the table.

But they decided to manage the game like it was a "real action" game. Being conservative. Not going for it when there was nothing to lose. They did so after a team that, with the NFC's #1 seed secured, basically played with its B team. Not only that but for the Eagles, most of the game was played by a third string QB.

Despite all this, the Cowboys could hardly beat the Eagles 6-0. Poor execution and all, I can't help thinking about the coaches.

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Cowboys Should Keep Datone Jones for 2018

In late November, the Dallas Cowboys signed Datone Jones after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers. The former Packers' first-round pick made an impact when he was given the chance. His play at DT was pretty solid and he showed very promising flashes.

DatoneJones - Streamable

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Jones will be under contract in 2018 and I'd be surprised if the Cowboys don't keep him another year. Per Over The Cap, he'll be paid $790,000 next year which isn't at all expensive for a 27-year-old player.

The Cowboys would add depth and even a potential starter at DT for next season.

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Ryan Switzer Can Play as a Wide Receiver

With Cole Beasley missing the game because of an illness, we finally got to see Ryan Switzer at WR. We had already seen good things from him as a kick returner, but on offense, he hasn't been as involved as Cowboys Nation expected him to be.

Last Sunday though, Switzer was used for more than a jet sweep.

SwitzerWR - Streamable

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He still has a long way to go, but I was impressed by his ability to create separation. I really hope he's used more next season.

At the end of the day, he's a fourth-round pick. He should be playing more on offense, not just on "gadget plays" or special teams. Could Ryan Switzer be Dak Prescott's best friend in the future? Only time will tell. Right now, it's too optimistic to expect something like that.

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Dan Bailey's Confidence is Shattered

Dallas Cowboys K Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey's 2017 season hasn't been easy at all. We've seen him miss kicks we never imagined he would, including extra points. One of the most painful moments of the Cowboys' season came late in the season finale when he lined up to kick a simple 20-yard field goal.

The ball went up, but failed to split the uprights. Dan Bailey stood in complete disbelief, with a blank look in his face. His confidence, shattered.

For kickers, it's all about confidence.

For years, we referred to Dan "Automatic" Bailey as the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Now we're not sure about calling him "Automatic" anymore. Bailey will have a lot of time to pick himself up though, and will probably be back at it next year.

Let's hope that's the case.

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For now, the only thing left to say is one of the most encouraging, yet sad phrases in sports... Maybe next year. We're on to the offseason.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win

Sean Martin



Sean's Scout: Cowboys Starters Produce Uninspiring Week 17 Win

Playing more than enough of their starters in hopes of ending this 2017 season on a high note at the Eagles, the Cowboys produced a lackluster 6-0 win that will surely leave a bad taste in the mouths of Cowboys Nation - despite it being a victory.

The win put the Cowboys at 9-7 on the season, and it is a shame they had nothing to play for in this regular season finale. Once again in week 17, it was the offense holding back another fantastic performance by Rod Marinelli's defense.

We'll discuss both units in this final 2017 Dallas Cowboys version of Sean's Scout.

  • You have to love the way Chidobe Awuzie was able to bring physicality to a young Cowboys secondary that had another solid game. 

There were times earlier in this season when it seemed the Cowboys' second-round pick would have a lost season due to multiple hamstring injuries, but Awuzie quickly tuned around his rookie campaign by coming in and playing with exceptional technique and awareness.

With enough length to turn and run, Awuzie thrived in this zone scheme by keeping everything in front of him, as he did on his interception of Nick Foles. With Dallas in Cover 2 on the play, Chidobe read Foles' eyes the whole time to the boundary and was in position to cut off the pass.

This is a topic we'll now have much more time to discuss, and it is a hollowing one considering it was truly the Cowboys offense that kept them from the playoffs this season. The need for new talent at WR is clear, but the need for a target that better suits Prescott's strengths going into year three is even more important.

His pass catchers, along with inconsistencies in pass protection, were the main reasons Prescott struggled in 2017, although in this game it seemed like the only time he was affected in the pocket was when forcing the ball late to Bryant.

Coming from a spread system in college, Prescott simply does not have experience throwing his receivers open -- relying on route combinations and separation ability to hit open targets. Dez Bryant hasn't been that type of player through his career, and certainly isn't now that he's lost a step.

  • 9 wins for a team unlike their usual selves up front offensively is still pretty impressive. 

The Cowboys got nearly no impact from any of their free agent signings this season, which is why the depth of the team held them back once again. Veteran Byron Bell was brought in as a backup swing tackle, but he is simply not a scheme fit at tackle here.

Dak Prescott should not have been playing with Bell as his LT, and eventually Joe Looney at LG after Jonathan Cooper went down.

Bell lacks the quick-twitch ability and athleticism needed to be successful on every down, and it showed as he was again beaten by both speed and power against the Eagles.

The Cowboys have proven their acumen drafting young OL talent that performs at a high level early and often. So, instead of relying on more free agents, like Bell and Looney, drafting talent up front to spark the running game and give Prescott adequate protection is likely the best answer.

  • Ryan Switzer's ability to separate late in the down really stood out, as he finally got his chance at WR without Cole Beasley

Growing calls for more of Ryan Switzer on offense will surely take root this offseason after he caught four passes for 32 yards in the absence of Cole Beasley yesterday. More of a one-speed player at North Carolina, Switzer's spacial awareness and smoothness in giving Prescott somewhere to throw the ball as plays developed was really impressive.

In order to be a great team at the NFL Draft, you have to accurately scout your own roster. It will be fascinating to see just how the Cowboys feel about their current pass catchers, with not only Ryan Switzer but the likes of Lance Lenoir and practice squad addition K.D. Cannon in the fold as well.

  • The Cowboys found themselves a valuable addition to their rotation at DT with Datone Jones. 

Jones was able to push the pocket throughout this game in Philadelphia, and has done so consistently since getting here, at both the 1T and 3T positions. Using his hands to generate power as a down-the-line player, Jones plays with great pad level. That allows him to shoot gaps when needed, or anchor the line of scrimmage.

The Cowboys have not prioritized adding premier talent at DT in recent years, and may forego it again this offseason as well. The Cowboys expect Maliek Collins to contribute further with another season at 1T and David Irving back at 3T.

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To everybody who made this 2017 season at Inside The Star as enjoyable as ever, I would like to thank the readers of Sean's Scout. All this aspiring scout can ask for is to enhance the fan experience through both wins and losses, and your feedback on this series helped me to confidently do just that.

As we prepare for an even better 2018, Sean's Scout won't be going anywhere! I'm shifting my full attention towards the NFL Draft, looking for prospects that could help the Dallas Cowboys reach the playoffs again next season.

Thank you for another roller-coaster ride we call football season, Cowboys Nation. Truly the best fans anywhere.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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