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Cowboys news: Kellen Moore interviews for the Boise State head coaching job

Here is your game day edition of Cowboys news.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Kellen Moore interviews for head coaching job at Boise State - Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk

Could the Cowboys be on the verge of losing their offensive coordinator?

Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has interviewed for the Boise State head coaching job, Matt Prater of The Idaho Press reports.

Moore and Oregon defensive coordinator Andy Avalos are favorites for the job left open by the departure of Bryan Harsin for Auburn.

Prater reports “Kellen Moore & Andy Avalos have high interest in #BoiseState job. Both families on board. Both have interviewed. Process has included Chris Petersen, per sources. I expect one to be hired this week.”

Moore broke the FBS record for wins as the Broncos quarterback, going 50-3 from 2008-11. He spent three seasons with the Lions and three with the Cowboys before Dallas hired him as its quarterbacks coach in 2018.

Moore, 32, became the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator in 2019. He remained as the offensive coordinator and play-caller for the Cowboys when Mike McCarthy became the head coach this spring.

Why The Dallas Cowboys Can’t Lose Kellen Moore to Boise State - Mauricio Rodriquez, A to Z Sports

Moore going to Boise State will not be a good thing for the Cowboys.

Moore has been a controversial topic among fans since 2019. In 2020, that controversy has only increased as the Cowboys have struggled on offense after Dak Prescott’s injury in Week 5. But truth be told, what NFL teams don’t struggle without their starting quarterback? Not to mention an offensive line that has been forced to feature preseason-caliber talent.

The fact of the matter is when Moore had Prescott at quarterback, this was a top-tier offense. Through five weeks, the Cowboys averaged 32.6 points per game. Granted, there were some issues, specifically in the turnover department. But turnovers have more to do with the players on the field than the play-caller on the sidelines.

Moore was successful even in his first year as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator. Although Dallas missed the playoffs in 2019, the team’s offense drastically improved from one year to another.

In 2018 they scored 21.2 points per game (22nd in the NFL) and averaged 5.4 yards per play (21st). If you preferred advanced stats, they ranked 24th in offense DVOA, per Football Outsiders.

Compare that to 2019, when the Cowboys were one of the best offenses in the NFL. They scored 27.1 points per game (6th) and led the NFL with an average of 6.5 yards per play. And of course, they improved to second-best in offense DVOA.

Report: DT Antwaun Woods Heading to Injured Reserve - John Williams, Inside the Star

It could be an end of an era for the Cowboys defensive tackle as his season has officially ended.

Woods finishes the season second among the interior defensive linemen in tackles and stops per Pro Football Focus and had their highest overall grade for an interior defensive lineman.

In what was an underwhelming season for the Dallas Cowboys interior defensive line, Woods continued to show his value as a rotational defensive tackle. After attempting to upgrade the position by bringing in Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy, it was Woods, once again, who was the Cowboys’ most consistent player along the interior for much of the season.

Heading into the 2021 offseason, Woods will be a restricted free agent, and the Cowboys may place the “original round tender” on Woods to bring him back next season. He hasn’t shown so much that he’d be sought after as a restricted free agent, but he’s certainly valuable as a backup for the Dallas Cowboys.

LVE, Woods out for Cowboys, no Sweat but DeSean may play for Eagles - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire

The latest injury updates.

Dallas Cowboys

Out

CB Rashard Robinson (knee) – Came up lame in second half vs Cincinnati the week prior

LB Leighton Vander Esch (ankle) – suffered injury last week vs San Francisco when rolled over on tackle attempt

DT Antwaun Woods (ankle) – also hurt against San Francisco

Safety Xavier Woods (ribs) – after dealing with a groin injury in practice, ribs were hurt vs 49ers.

Questionable

RB Ezekiel Elliott (calf)

TE Blake Bell (illness)

Zeke looks to be a go.

A six-pack sample: DeSean Jackson is active; what does it mean? - Dave Spadaro, Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles base camp offers up their own injury report.

1. The Injury Update: It’s Significant

A lot is going on. The Eagles won’t have defensive end Derek Barnett, who did not make the trip because of a calf injury, and along with the loss of Josh Sweat, the Eagles are thin at defensive end with Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Genard Avery, who has played only 80 defensive snaps this season, is going to need to bring energy and burst off the edge. Expect Joe Ostman, the team’s Ed Block Courage Award winner elevated from the practice squad, to get some reps as well.

Sweat and cornerback Kevon Seymour have been moved to Injured Reserve, ending their seasons. Jordan Howard is also up on the active roster for this game to give the Eagles a power running back in short-yardage situations.

Tight end Caleb Wilson and defensive tackle T.Y. McGill have been promoted from the practice squad.

The really interesting news: The Eagles have activated wide receiver DeSean Jackson from the Reserve/Injured list. Clearly, they’ve seen enough from him in practice this week to think he can help at Dallas. Jackson has played in only four games this season and hasn’t played since the first Giants game on October 22. Jackson has had such an injury-plagued two seasons since returning to Philadelphia and it seemed the Eagles were turning the page at the position with the emergence of their young receivers. Jackson has 13 receptions for 155 yards this season. He’s an intriguing addition to the passing attack, for sure. The speed is there. The deep threat is significant. How much of an impact can Jackson have for an offense that wants to be multi-faceted against Dallas?

Film room: 3 Cowboys players to watch for the future during showdown vs. Eagles - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

Three players to keep an eye out for in today’s game.

Donovan Wilson, S

Donovan Wilson had a slow start to the 2020 season, as he was made inactive for the first three weeks of the season; however, injuries and below-average play from Darian Thompson forced the second-year safety into action shortly thereafter.

Wilson struggled a bit at first, as he was part of numerous coverage busts, miscommunications and bad run fits; however, after he got his sea legs under him, Wilson has been one Dallas’ most impactful defenders when healthy, accumulating 16 stops, three forced fumbles, an interception and a pass breakup in just nine games.

This week against the Eagles, Wilson will have another opportunity to display his playmaking ways. With Jalen Hurts under center, the Eagles offense looks revitalized, as Hurts’ ability to win with his legs puts added stress on opposing defenses.

When facing teams who utilize QB-designed runs, as the Eagles do with Hurts, the safeties become even more important cogs defending the run, as second and third-level defenders are often responsible for picking up the QB on zone/power reads and option plays, and that’s without even getting into the passing game, where Wilson will likely be tested as well this week.

Eagles-Cowboys: Three numbers that matter for Week 16 - Benjamin Solak, Bleeding Green Nation

Three numbers to keep in mind for the game.

5.0 - That’s how many yards/carry the Cowboys are allowing this year. It’s tied for the highest number in the league.

It’s pretty rough in Dallas. While they’ve actually been solid against quarterbacks on the ground, giving up only 280 yards on 60 carries, they bleed in the base running game: no team has seen more handoffs against them, and only the Houston Texans have given up more gross yardage.

Philadelphia should be considered a run-first offense, now, having largely flipped the script on their offensive philosophy since the insertion of Jalen Hurts in the starting lineup. Against the Cardinals last week, they were by-far the most dependent on early down runs than they had been all year.

The Eagles still haven’t been a very effective team on called runs over the last two weeks — they’re 18th in the league in rush EPA/play. It’s important to remember that scrambles are not called running plays — they’re called passing plays — and a large number of the Eagles’ explosive and most effective runs have been Jalen Hurts scrambles.

But against a defense like the Cowboys, we should expect the Eagles’ recent run-dependence to continue and bear more efficiency. Miles Sanders has dominated the backfield since Hurts return, carrying the ball 31 times with only 3 carries going to Boston Scott in relief. Only 190 yards away from a 1,000-yard season, a 15-carry game for Sanders against the Cowboys could very well put him in triple digits and within striking distance of the millennia mark: he would be the first 1,000 rusher for the Eagles since LeSean McCoy in 2014.

How close were Cowboys to drafting Jalen Hurts? - Jon Machota, The Athletic

Weekly notes, including how Jalen Hurts fit in with the Cowboys draft plans.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy went a little further when asked about Eagles rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts this week. Hurts was drafted 53rd overall, two picks after Dallas selected cornerback Trevon Diggs in the second round.

We looked at him really hard,” Jones said of Hurts on Monday on 105.3 The Fan. “Obviously, our guy is Dak (Prescott), but at the same time, Mike is a big proponent of continuing to look at quarterback.

“We certainly had interest in him, but as I’ve said all along, our complete commitment is to Dak Prescott and look forward to getting his deal at some point finished and getting him back on the field. He’s certainly the leader of this team and we certainly miss him.”

The Cowboys weren’t going to take Hurts over Diggs. The cornerback position, much like this year, needed to be addressed early in the draft. There’s no questioning the Diggs pick. It appears as if the Cowboys got a good starter and one of the best defensive backs in the class. But what if Hurts was still there in the third round?

“We talked about him a lot,” McCarthy said of Hurts. “We had a great virtual interview with him. Very impressive young man. Went back through his history both at Alabama and Oklahoma. We thought of him very highly in our building.

“You always keep an eye on the local guys. But, yeah, he was very, very impressive during the draft process and I thought he really gave you a unique perspective to see him both play in the Alabama offense and the Oklahoma offense. So it’s nice to see him have some success.”

Dallas drafted defensive tackle Neville Gallimore — another Sooner — with their next pick, No. 82 overall. If Hurts had still been there, perhaps the Cowboys would’ve taken him instead. And judging by how this season has gone, Hurts could have been starting for Dallas against the Eagles on Sunday.

Most of the country will see the Seahawks and Rams battle it out for the NFC West, but the game will still be on TV in the Dallas/Philadelphia surrounding areas (coverage map courtesy of 506 Sports).

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