Balance, balance, balance. Over the last four weeks, Kellen Moore has been as balanced as you can get. In week four against the league’s number one ranked defense in Carolina, Moore called an exceptional game to attack the Panthers defensive game plan.
In a game that got out of hand by the end of the third quarter, the Cowboys offense threw the ball 22 times, and rushed the ball 34 times (20 by Elliott, 10 by Pollard, and four by Dak). As much as we talk about not falling in love with the run, the adjustments Moore has made to this running game has been very exciting. While the linemen are doing an excellent job blocking up front, the creativity involved in the blocking scheme is what has jump-started the Cowboys running game.
Moore is using zone, man, and move-schemes to get hats on hats, and it’s freeing up things in the second-level to allow Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to create explosive plays on the ground. Since week one, when the Cowboys game plan was to win through the air due to the stout Bucs run defense, the Cowboys are running the ball as well as anyone in the NFL. But when they need to turn to the passing game, that’s also working at a high level.
While the explosive plays through the air are down a little bit through the first four weeks, it’s mainly do to the fact that the Cowboys are just attacking defenses based on what their seeing. Dak Prescott is developing into one of the best quarterbacks in the league with pre-snap reads and adjustments. That is one of the many reasons you’re seeing this offense look so good early on. Prescott is not forcing things, he’s not trying to do to much, and he’s getting the offense lined up and in the right plays based on what he’s seeing at the line of scrimmage. If the boxes are heavy, they’re going to pick you apart through the air and down the field with Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson, Dalton Schultz, and Blake Jarwin. If the boxes are light, have some fun with Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, and the big guys up front. Heading into week five, this Cowboys offense is clicking on all cylinders, and it’s in large part because of the offensive play-calling design, and how well the quarterback is playing pre-and-post snap.
Kellen Moore will need to continue to get creative in goal-to-go situations as that’s the only spot the Cowboys offense has not looked dominant early in the 2021 season, but the offense is punching it in from outside of those situations quite a bit. With the run game clicking, the passing game clicking, and the play-calling clicking, it’s easy to see why this offense is viewed as one of the most dynamic offenses in all the NFL. As it stands, defenses must commit to stopping either the pass or the run, and once they do, the other path becomes that much more successful.