Dallas Cowboys: No hindsight, Kellen Moore tops Brandon Weeden
The Dallas Cowboys offense is better when passes are thrown to wide receivers. Don’t let the numbers lie, Kellen Moore played better than they indicate.
Regarding Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Kellen Moore, the numbers never lie. But they don’t tell the whole story. Yes, I’m still driving the Moore bandwagon. Unfortunately, like many in Cowboy Nation, I believed head coach Jason Garrett‘s rhetoric. Just when I started to believe in the culture and “the process”, he pulled the chair away as I sat down.
Garrett will preach that each week is about preparing to win football games. Perhaps that’s not the case when you aren’t on the hot seat anymore. Last year, after the Cowboys went 12 – 4, Garrett signed a five year contract extension for $30 million. Very few people think it’s realistic for a head coach to get fired after one year. As a businessman, Jones isn’t going to give Garrett $24 million and then pay millions more to hire a new coach.
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A new head coach means new offensive and defensive coordinators along with new systems and terminologies. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan signed a three year deal in 2015 for $2.1 million. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has the same deal as Linehan. Replacing them means more money wasted by Jones to bring in a new regime.
Quarterbacks Tony Romo and the majority of the skill position players have only experienced Garrett’s playbook. Continuity at the coaching position is part of the reason teams are successful with practice and repetition. Everyone believed quarterback Brandon Weeden would be better this year because it was the first time he had back to back years with the same offensive coordinator.
Weeden lasted three games this season. Just because you have the same golf coach doesn’t mean you’ll win the PGA Championship. Does anyone recall hearing praise of Weeden from Linehan? I heard it from Jason Garrett and the ultimate salesman Jerry Jones, but never from Linehan. Maybe Weeden was sabotaged by Linehan because Kellen Moore was with the Dallas Cowboys, stashed on the practice squad.
I was willing to give Weeden a pass and blamed the offensive scheme during his losses. I wanted the Weeden that played against the Cowboys, the gunslinger. Unfortunately, for those with short memories, Weeden stunk. He didn’t have an intentional grounding interception, but he wasn’t great. When he entered the Philadelphia Eagles game, he went 7 – 7 passing for one touchdown. In the next three games, he had one touchdown and two interceptions. Against Atlanta, Joseph Randle had 3 rushing touchdowns and Darren McFadden added another for 28 points had nothing to do with Weeden.
Brandon Weeden vs Atlanta Falcons
22 / 26, 232 yards, 1 INT
I would break down Matt Cassel‘s play, but all you need to know is that post-game, Cassel says he needs to throw the ball to Dez Bryant more. Who didn’t know that? Bryant ended the Green Bay Packers game with one catch for 9 yards. In the famous 1994 Jason Garrett Thanksgiving Day game, his wife, Brill told him to throw it high to Alvin Harper. Moore knows that good things happen when you throw the ball to Bryant as it resulted in his first NFL touchdown. It’s a shame Bryant wasn’t available against the Bills.
Moore still threw the football to our wide receivers and with the exception of a bad screen to McFadden that went for -1 yards, every receiver averaged more than 10 yards: Brice Butler (18.5), Terrance Williams (15.5), Cole Beasley (14.5), Jason Witten (12), James Hanna (10). Moore wasn’t helped by Devin Street dropping passes, Dez Bryant calling in sick, a defense that couldn’t tackle a scrambling Tyrod Taylor and the worst angle I’ve ever seen by Byron Jones on a running back from the safety position. Congrats to Deji Olatoye and Terrance Mitchell who both have more interceptions than our first round draft pick.
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There was also never a moment where it looked like Moore was getting his first NFL start on the road. I will finally give credit to Terrance Williams who made plays for Moore. Like most NFL offenses, ours is better when passes are thrown to wide receivers as intended. Don’t let the numbers fool you, Moore played better than the numbers reflect. Beating the Washington Redskins in the season finale is the best way to make a lasting and favorable impression on coaches and Cowboy Nation.
Find me at Facebook.com/CowboysRob – Driver of the Official Kellen Moore Bandwagon