Kellen Moore is the new offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles. This is either good news or bad news depending on what your opinion is of the Dallas Cowboys former play-caller. He was beloved out of the gate but became the latest scapegoat when results were not met in the postseason.
Now, he’ll be drawing up plays in Philadelphia. While several Cowboys fans seem to be laughing in the face of Philly’s decision, others aren’t exactly thrilled about this move. Many Cowboys insiders respect Moore as an offensive coordinator.
Yes, I think Kellen Moore is an exceptional playcaller and game-planner and a former player who relates well to current players. https://t.co/wIybmVqbNV— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) January 28, 2024
Jokes > facts, I get it. But Kellen is, by and large, good at his job.— David Helman (@davidhelman_) January 28, 2024
hard to say for sure until Jason Kelce has decided for sure what to do. but I’d guess Philly’s offense will be good if this is the hire. https://t.co/U0SaITdz8p
Before we line up to make jokes about how this will blow up in the Eagles’ face, let’s take a moment to remember just how well Moore did during his time in Dallas.
Moore became the Cowboys offensive coordinator in 2019 after spending just one year as their quarterbacks coach. In his debut season, he helped the Cowboys offense put up 6,904 total yards. It was the most yards in franchise history, and the fifth-most in NFL history. His offense was in great company as it was up there with Peyton Manning’s record-breaking season with Denver and the Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf.
Moore had everything clicking on on offense. The group of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb became the first trio of Cowboys receivers to all have at least 800 yards receivers. This season is easily overlooked because the Cowboys as a team finished with an 8-8 record, but it wasn’t because of the offense. They finished second in the league in offensive DVOA.
The Cowboys were infected by a horrible special teams that season (dead last in DVOA) where Brett Maher missed 10 field goals. Six of the eight games they lost that year were by one score, with most of them featuring missed field goals by Maher. If they had reasonable kicking efficiency that season, their final record might’ve looked a lot different. Regardless, for the offense to look that great in Moore’s first season as an offensive coordinator was quite impressive.
There was a time not so long ago when people viewed Dak Prescott as a bus driver. His yards per passing attempt started to drop and he was labeled as a dink-and-dunk quarterback.
The moment Moore took over the play-calling, things changed. Prescott started airing the ball out as his yards per attempt and yards per game both skyrocketed. It was at that point that we realized what type of quarterback Prescott could be.
Things dropped again in Moore’s last season in 2022. Many contributing factors played a role including play-calling, Dak’s performance, and a lack of offensive weapons including WR2 Noah Brown. Even still, Prescott’s turning point aligns when Moore stepped in and cut him loose.
WHEN IT ALL COMES TOGETHER
Moore had a great debut season but was delivered a setback when Prescott was lost for the season the following year in 2020. But once Dak was healthy again, the Cowboys' offense took off. CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper led a stout receiving attack where the Cowboys were lighting up opponents. The Cowboys led the league in both points scored and yards gained that season. It was the first time they led the league in both categories in 50 years, going back to the 1971 season when they won the Super Bowl.
Stats are just stats, and people want wins, but it’s hard to look past how efficient the Cowboys' offenses have been under Moore. Of the top seven total yardage outputs in the history of the NFL, Moore’s Cowboys show up twice.
RUN GAME MYTH
Moore gets accused of being a little too pass-happy after coming from a heavy pass Boise State team in college. It’s true, he does love to air it out, but that is not to say he’s not effective in the running game. Moore brought a lot of clever outside zone runs to the Cowboys' offense, but he showed that he could beat you a lot of different ways.
One thing that is said repeatedly about Kellen Moore is how he isn't committed to the running game and how he fails to make adjustments. After what we just witnessed this past season, I don't know how people can say that with a straight face.https://t.co/nmnDgAG7SP pic.twitter.com/ll4r1oETKe— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) January 28, 2024
Weirdly, even after Mike McCarthy vowed to be more committed to the run game, the offense struggled immensely to run the ball this past season. Their 4.1 yards per rushing attempt was the worst this team has been over the last 10 years. When defenses crowded the line of scrimmage, the Cowboys had no counter. Additionally, the absence of explosive plays meant defenses didn’t have to respect the big play and were allowed to bunch more defenders over the middle.
We can talk about how Moore’s offense struggled against better teams or how they didn’t show up in the postseason, but that is also the epitome of the Cowboys offense we just witnessed this past season. Maybe those shortcomings aren’t as Moore-dependent as we thought.
But when you look at his four years with the Cowboys, during that span, the Cowboys offense ranked second overall in both points in yards gained. What is amazing about that is that they were without Dak Prescott for a total of 17 games across three different seasons. Even with Andy Dalton, Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci, and Cooper Rush, the Cowboys' offense has still been the second-best group in the league under Moore’s tenure in Dallas.
Hopefully, he won’t be the answer in Philly, but if he is, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise for Cowboys fans who have had a front-row seat to Moore’s body of work in recent years.