Pre-snap Motion Prevalent in First Cowboys Practice

All offseason we’ve wondered what exactly a Kellen Moore offense would look like and with the Dallas Cowboys hosting their first training camp practice yesterday, we got a glimpse of what his offensive philosophy might look like. Well, it didn’t take long for one offensive philosophy to be seen as a prominent fixture in the offense.

As Jeff Cavanaugh from 105.3 The Fan notes, Kellen Moore had the offense using a lot of pre-snap motion and shifts throughout the first practice.

Bryan Broaddus from mentioned it as well in his Scout’s Notebook from the first practice.

“I don’t know if Kellen Moore was having fun with the media today, but he opened practice with a heavy formation, with Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin on the right side. As soon as Dak Prescott got under center, they shifted Witten and Jarwin to the left side and then brought Amari Cooper down inside, tight to the formation. This wasn’t the only time Moore was moving his personnel around during practice. For those of you that were looking for Moore to show some pre-snap motion and movement, he delivered for you.”

Bryan Broaddus –

Pre-snap motion is just one wrinkle that the Dallas Cowboys new offensive coordinator is going to install into his offense. Kellen Moore picked that up during his time at Boise State under now Washington Huskies Head Coach Chris Petersen. As we’ve attempted to figure out just what Kellen Moore would bring to the offense, it helped to look back at his time at Boise State to get a feel for what was important to his success.

If you’ve ever coached in a sport where you’ve had success as a player, you always try to take the things that made you successful and use them as a coach. Kellen Moore is the winningest quarterback in college football history, so there’s no doubt that he’s going to bring a lot of the concepts that made him a success at Boise State to his first coordinating job.

Pre-snap motion helps the offense and the quarterback, in particular, to identify mismatches, identify man vs zone coverage, and it helps snuff out any potential blitzers. Dak Prescott has been really good at reading the defense pre-snap over the years and this is another tool that will help his pre-snap read and post-snap decision making. The other thing pre-snap motion does is force the defense to communicate assignments on the fly. As Moore points out in his time on Jon Gruden’s Quarterback Camp, communication can lead to miscommunication. If you’re forcing the defense to adjust and communicate, there will be times where there is miscommunication.

Moore didn’t need to come in and initiate wholesale changes to the Dallas Cowboys offense, which has had a lot of success over the years. Instead, he just needs to put his personal touch on it with wrinkles and some new philosophies.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


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