The Dallas Cowboys started the offseason off with a bang, as Dan Quinn informed the organization he’s returning for a third season. Quinn had head coaching opportunities with Arizona, Carolina, and Denver, and secured a second interview with the Cardinals and Panthers.
It’s massive news for the Cowboys. Now, though, everyone has turned their attention to the future of Dallas’ offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
Moore was in consideration for the Panthers’ head coaching gig, but Carolina hired former Colts head coach Frank Reich for the position. Moore was a finalist, and gave the Panthers something to think about, but they ultimately went with Reich given his experience at the job and developing young quarterbacks.
That seemed to indicate Moore would return for a fifth season. Even after all of Dallas’ surprise coaching changes — including parting ways with George Edwards, Joe Philbin and Skip Peete — Moore is under contract for 2023, and has pulled the strings of one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses.
That sentiment changed on a dime Thursday at Mike McCarthy’s season-ending press conference. When asked about Moore’s future, McCarthy was surprisingly noncommittal about his future, saying the OC “will be evaluated.”
Is Kellen Moore going to be fired by the Dallas Cowboys?
You can make a case for and against the Cowboys keeping Moore.
One one hand, Dallas’ offense has flourished under his tutelage. In 2022 alone, the Cowboys finished fifth in third-down efficiency and first in red zone efficiency. The offense has also ranked sixth, 17th (Dak Prescott missed most of the year with a dislocated ankle), first and fourth in points per game, respectively, under Moore.
On the other hand, though, the Cowboys offense has struggled to maintain consistency with Moore at the helm. For example, they put up 40 points against the Eagles’ stout defense on Christmas Eve, only to respond with a 10-point dud against a Titans team that rested the majority of their starters.
There are questions about Moore’s situational play-calling, and the offense undoubtedly coiled up against the 49ers in the Divisional Round. Speaking of which, Dallas scored 17 and 12 points, respectively, in their playoff losses to San Francisco the last two years.
Of course, it all comes down to who the Cowboys choose to replace Moore should they go a different direction. Promoting team consultant Brian Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator, for example, would be a disaster decision.
If you’re talking about Eagles QBs coach Brian Johnson, Rams passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson, or recently-dismissed Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur supplanting Moore, you have our attention.
At the end of the day, Moore isn’t the solution nor the problem in Dallas. If the Cowboys can’t identify someone who can do a better job, then fans should welcome him back with open arms.
There’s an argument to be had that Prescott has reached his potential in Moore’s system, but don’t discount the significance of Dak having to learn an entirely new system coming off the worst season of his career.
Wherever you side on the matter, Moore’s future with the Cowboys is up in the air following McCarthy’s surprisingly cryptic comments.