Dallas Cowboys: Should Kellen Moore be one and done?

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 22: Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 22: Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Despite the Dallas Cowboys have the number one offense in the NFL, the team isn’t winning enough. Does that mean Kellen Moore’s tenure as OC is over?

The fate of Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has likely been sealed following Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Even if the Cowboys are able to back themselves into the playoffs with an unlikely New York Giants victory over the Eagles and a Dallas win over the Washington Redskins next Sunday, the chances this team wins a playoff game are slim.

Of the Cowboys’ rare seven wins this season, only one of those opponents is potentially heading to the postseason … and that’s Philadelphia at 8-7. Five of those victories were against teams who are currently slated to pick within the top five selections in the 2020 NFL Draft (Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, Redskins, and Giants twice). So believing this Cowboys team will be able to suddenly conquer playoff-caliber opponents is a pipe dream.

So whether the Eagles end the Cowboys season next weekend with a win or they’re ousted after their first game in the playoffs, this year’s version of America’s Team is toast. And so should be Garrett’s nine-year run in Dallas that’s resulted in a mere two playoff victories total.

With Garrett’s fate all but sealed, the question turns to those who might join him on the way out. Despite their adequate play against the Eagles in Philly on Sunday, I believe most would agree that the Cowboys defense has been a major disappointment this season.

Despite the Dallas defense ranking 12th in offensive yards allowed (4,961) and 11th in scoring defense (20.3), this group’s lackluster performance could be the biggest reason the team finds themselves on the outside looking in. That puts the jobs of both defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and his defensive playcaller, Kris Richard, in jeopardy this offseason.

But what about the offensive side of the ball? The Cowboys made a controversial move to promote quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator this season. A disciple of former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Moore’s disguised schemes seemed to be less and less effective as the season wore on.

The Cowboys struggled to put up just nine points against the Eagles in their biggest game of the year. And over their last five contests, the team’s scoring average has dropped to a mere 20.2 points per game.

One of the bigger criticisms of the Cowboys offense under Moore’s guidance is the lack of running plays for Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott. Against the Eagles, Zeke ran the ball just 13 times despite the close score. Elliott is on pace to post his third lowest carries total (currently at 283) in his four-year career.

Yet, on paper, the Cowboys offense seems to do enough to win most games. But despite the fact Dallas currently possesses the top offense the NFL averaging 425.8 yards per game, and a scoring offense ranked eighth in the league averaging 25.8 points, they’ve only been able to win seven games. And that’s the one stat that counts.

Whether the Cowboys brass opts to bring back Moore, Marinelli, or Richard will likely depend on owner and general manager Jerry Jones and whom he decides to replace Garrett with as head coach.

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The numbers seem to support bringing Kellen Moore back for another season. And his relationship with quarterback Dak Prescott has led the fourth-year passer to post career-highs in passing yardage (4,599) and passing touchdowns (26). Yet, the biggest number of them all and the one that counts the most is in the win column. And that could be the one number that ultimately decides Moore’s fate.