The Dallas Cowboys needed to make a change on offense, so they decided that their offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, quarterbacks coach, and running back coach services were no longer needed.
Leaving many wondering who was going to call the plays going forward, well that question was answered after it was reported that head coach Mike McCarthy was going to be calling the plays this season. Still, when you bring in offensive line coach Mike Solari and then name Brian Schottenheimer as your offensive coordinator it’s clear we are going to see a complete overhaul of this Cowboys’ offense.
The simple, but effective offense that Kellen Moore ran in Dallas just starting to become predictable, and putting Schottenheimer in that role will add more misdirection and more play action in an offense that for some reason every year under Moore just failed to deliver at the heading into the playoffs.
The combined offensive knowledge that McCarthy and Schottenheimer have over Moore can only benefit quarterback Dak Prescott and this offense overall. So let’s take a look at a few areas where this Cowboys offense will be able to get better.
How Cowboys offense, Dak Prescott can get better under Mike McCarthy and Brian Schottenheimer
Last season, 72.8% of the plays Prescott ran under Moore were straight dropback passing plays. That means Moore knowing he had an underwhelming receiving core put a lot more pressure on Prescott to find receivers that were open, most of whom couldn’t consistently create separation. Compare that to just 27.2% of play-actions plays that were called and you can see why it was easy for defenses to just drop back into coverage and make plays on the football. If you don’t have any misdirection in your play calling you’re eventually going to allow the defense to dictate what your offense is going to do and at times that exactly happened thanks to Moore’s play-calling.
McCarthy and Schottenheimer aren’t going to allow defenses to dictate what they want to do, so we should expect to see more play-action and pre-snap motion in order to help Prescott read the defense as well as forcing these cornerbacks and safeties to creep closer to the line of scrimmage using Schottenheimer’s play-calling in the running game. During his time in Seattle Schottenheimer ranked sixth in run-play rate (42%) which allowed him to set up the play-action passing game which under his watch came in at eighth in play-action rate (28.4%). With the running backs the Cowboys have on the roster Schottenheimer is going to be able to lean on that running game to help Prescott manage the football game and make plays when he needs to.
It will be especially helpful in the red zone, an area where Moore just couldn’t seem to find any consistency or success due to his limited play calling. Schottenheimer on the other hand has been one of the more successful offensive coordinators in red zone scoring offenses thanks in part to that misdirection and his willingness to have his quarterback run the football enough times to be a threat a defense must focus on. Again opening things up for Prescott should he actually throw the football.