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How the Cowboys offense could improve on their performances without Dak Prescott

Taking a look at Kellen Moore and some changes that need to be made.

Buffalo Bills v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Kellen Moore report this week is going to look a little different. Instead of analyzing how Moore did in the previous week, we are going to take a look at some of the issues we saw from a play-calling perspective in week seven, and see what areas he needs to improve in in the future.

Easy fixes

The Cowboys had 22 runs on first and second down against the Washington Football Team in week seven. That stat in itself is absolutely disgusting. The biggest lie told in football is that when a team is struggling at offensive line or quarterback, the best thing for that team to do is run the football. That is realistically the WORST thing for your football team to do, when it’s struggling on the offensive line, or at the quarterback position.

More than likely, if your offensive line is beat up and struggling, it’s going to struggle against the run just as much as it is against the pass. As we’ve seen here recently, it doesn’t matter how talented the runner is if the offensive line isn’t blocking up front then the running game is going to struggle. If the Cowboys want to find success on the offensive side of the football it has to stay away from early down runs in hopes of setting the offense up in third and manageable. When your offensive line playing at an all-time low, and the quarterback play is below average, no third down is a good one, and that’s been proven since Dak Prescott’s injury.

Changes in concepts and personnel

The second thing the Cowboys offense should look to implement more of in the coming weeks is more mesh concept. While mesh concepts can take some time to develop, you can display them out of multiple personnel groupings, formations, and can normally keep an extra man in to help protect as well in some of those concepts. The reason we call for more mesh concepts on offense is to help give either Andy Dalton or Ben DiNucci favorable looks in man-coverage that forces defenses to either play very tight coverage, or communicate well at the mesh-point. The Cowboys have very good personnel at the wide receiver position to have success running a variety of mesh concepts to get their skill position players in space with the room to run.

While dialing up more mesh, the Cowboys would also be wise to get their best players on the field as much as possible. While they didn’t have a great game on Sunday, the Cowboys best offensive players right now are; Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Dalton Schultz. Making 11-personnel the best grouping to run going forward. Moore used a ton of 12-personnel on Sunday, and it backfired as Schultz and Bell struggled blocking in the running game and in pass protection against the Football Team’s dominant defensive front. Spreading defenses out, and getting the football out quickly, is the key to this offenses success moving forward, and the best way to do that is get your best route-runners on the field to get open as fast as possible.

Taking Elliott out of the passing game


The Cowboys lost 3.6 of expected points when targeting running back Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday against the Washington Football Team. Shield your eyes though, because CeeDee Lamb’s targets weren’t much better, but the negative EPA when targeting Ezekiel Elliott has been a common theme throughout the entire season. Elliott is currently leading the NFL in drops, and Andy Dalton threw an interception on a ball that Elliott got his hands on in the red-zone.

Unfortunately for Elliott and the Cowboys offense, his results on the ground aren’t much better, making this predicament even more of an issue for the Cowboys offense moving forward. The key to success for the Cowboys is quite simple, but given the injuries and struggles at the most important positions, the Cowboys offense is in a tough spot, and it’s only going to get tougher on Sunday against yet another dominant defensive front in Philadelphia.

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