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Kellen Moore: Reviewing His 1st Cowboys Game

After weeks of fans dreaming of his number being called, finally made the switch to 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 since the NYG game on October 25th; the Offense's ability to maintain drives with a backup . 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 ’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 down to cover and play cover-1 over the top. 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 . 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 . Beasley, Witten, and 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 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 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, , 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.

James Robertello
James Robertello
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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Comments

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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.

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.

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

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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.

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.

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

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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

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