The Dallas Cowboys executed a news dump for the ages Sunday evening. Just moments before the Chiefs and Bengals kicked off in the AFC Championship Game, it was reported the Cowboys parted ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
The writing was seemingly on the wall after Mike McCarthy was noncommittal about Moore’s future with the organization earlier last week. The surprising news ends Moore’s four-year run as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator.
The speculation has already started in terms of whom Dallas will appoint to replace Moore. Some of the top external candidates include Eagles QBs coach Ben Johnson and Rams passing game coordinator Zac Robinson, who may be looking for a promotion after LA hired Mike LaFleur to be their new OC.
With Mike McCarthy expected to assume play-calling duties, though, the Cowboys might look internally for Moore’s replacement.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what’s left of Dallas’ coaching staff, and rank the team’s in-house replacements for Moore.
Ranking Cowboys in-house replacements for Kellen Moore
3. Scott Tolzien (coaching assistant)
It might be too early in Tolzien’s coaching career to make the jump to offensive coordinator, but his experience in Dallas is impossible to ignore.
Tolzien has been with the Cowboys since Mike McCarthy arrived. He’s served as a coaching assistant, with most of his work coming with the quarterback room. That close relationship with Dak Prescott is important given Prescott, though the pilot of a high-scoring offense, is coming off the worst year of his career.
Don’t discount Tolzien’s experience under McCarthy, either. It’s unclear how much weight that will carry in the decision-making process, but it’s notable that Tolzien was a backup quarterback for McCarthy’s Packers for three seasons.
With all that said, it’d be pretty reckless of the Cowboys to appoint Tolzien as a first-year offensive coordinator. With McCarthy likely coaching for his job in 2023, does he really want a rookie overseeing the offense?
Even if McCarthy gets the final say on play-calls, it seems Dallas (and Tolzien) would be better off becoming the team’s QBs coach after Dallas confirmed the departure of Doug Nussmeier alongside Kellen Moore.