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3 & Out: Well, The 'Moore' Things Change…


FRISCO, Texas – Three quick topics as the Cowboys ready for the Miami Dolphins this week with hopes of starting a season 3-0 for the first time in 11 years:

  • Identity
  • QB1
  • Chess

I Know…

we saw a mix of old-school and new-school offense in Week 2 against Washington.

Use all the 25-cent adjectives you want about Kellen Moore's offense, and indeed it's been dynamic with varying pre-snap looks and route combinations and scoring threats across the formation. But Ezekiel Elliott, as usual when this team plays well, was the fourth-quarter hammer behind outstanding offensive line play.

As dominant as the passing game has looked, the Cowboys after two games have 64 rush attempts and 62 pass attempts. That's balance, and that's why Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones made the comparison Tuesday on 105.3 to, yes, the Triplets offense of the '90s.

"If they stack it up (against Elliott), then step out there and take it to them downfield," Jones said.

It's not a hyperbolic direct comparison to perhaps the greatest team ever assembled. There's an obvious philosophical parallel here. In the Cowboys' six straight playoff seasons from 1991-96, they had almost a perfect 50/50 pass-run ratio (2,915 passes, 2,953 runs). Troy Aikman averaged 28.5 passes per game during that six-year stretch.

Not exactly "Sky Wars." Just efficient and equitable. That's what this offense is striving for, because they've got the overall talent to do so.

I Think…

these quarterback injuries around the league remind you just how fragile an NFL season can be.

The Cowboys are dealing with multiple injuries to key players (Michael Gallup, Antwaun and Xavier Woods) but Prescott has been remarkably durable.

You hold your breath on some of his runs, like his rollout scramble at the two-minute warning against Washington when cornerback Jimmy Moreland went low on the tackle. But a lot of the offense's early success has come off play-action or the read option. His mobility adds another layer to the unit's identity.

"For the most part he does a really good job of being smart on those things," Moore said. "He usually doesn't take big hits. Occasionally he will. But you're always conscious of that. You don't want to run it too much throughout the season. It's a long season in the NFL. But certainly it's a strength of his, so you don't want to tell him no."

I Have No Idea…

when Taco Charlton will be back on the game-day roster, but let's focus more on Tyrone Crawford's status at the moment.

Crawford played only 18 snaps as he continues to work through a hip injury that flared up on him against Washington. Robert Quinn is back from a two-game suspension, but Crawford can also move inside to tackle in certain situations. That's particularly important if Antwaun Woods misses any more time with a sprained knee.

I asked head coach Jason Garrett last week if Crawford has a 'best' position or can simply play anywhere he's needed on the line.

"It's really what we need, and I can't tell you how important that is on your defensive line to have a player of his caliber to be able to play so many spots at a high level," Garrett said.

Basically, Crawford is a valuable chess piece for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. They need him as healthy as possible throughout the season.