FRISCO, Texas – The scope of Kellen Moore’s offense will start to take shape as the offseason progresses and organized team activities (OTAs) ramp up next week.
But the Cowboys’ first-year play-caller does have a general philosophy about running an offense.
“Probably multiple,” he said at last weekend’s rookie minicamp. “I believe the beauty of our roster currently is we’ve got a lot of versatility.”
The Cowboys indeed have infused more speed and flexibility at the skill positions over the last 12 months. Wide receivers Randall Cobb, Michael Gallup and Tavon Austin are run-after-the-catch options. Fourth-round draft pick Tony Pollard can threaten defenses in the backfield and out wide.
And, of course, Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper changed the offense’s entire course last fall after arriving in a trade with Oakland.
With Cooper as the primary passing option for quarterback Dak Prescott, the Cowboys won seven of their final nine games to erase a 3-5 start and clinch the NFC East. With a consistent receiver rotation, Prescott’s passer rating jumped from 87.4 to 96.9 by season’s end. And running back Ezekiel Elliott led the league in rushing for the second time in three years.
Red zone consistency was an issue – the Cowboys ranked near the bottom of the league in touchdown conversions inside the 10- and 20-yard line – but the pieces are in place for improvement.
Center Travis Frederick’s return from Guillain-Barre syndrome will help stabilize the offensive line, and Moore wants to capitalize on the group’s overall versatility.
“We’ve got guys who can kind of line up in a lot of different places,” he said. “All of our running backs, from Maze (Jamize Olawale) being the fullback, what he did in Oakland when he kind of moved around a lot, Zeke’s got tremendous hands and he can do a lot of things, and we drafted Tony for a reason. (Seventh-round pick) Mike (Weber) can catch it as well and he can line up in spots. And all of our receivers are versatile guys. You go back to when Randall was in Green Bay, he lined up in a lot of spots.
“So we like the versatility of group, that hopefully we can be multiple and present things in different ways and at the end of the day still have our foundation, our philosophy. You can run similar plays out of a lot of different looks.”
In January the Cowboys promoted Moore to replace his mentor, Scott Linehan, who coordinated the offense the past four seasons.
Moore played quarterback under Linehan in Detroit and Dallas before moving to the sideline last season as Prescott’s position coach.
The Cowboys believe the 30-year-old Moore, who comes from a coaching family, is a rising star in the profession.
He’s now tasked with taking a young, talented offense to another level.
“We were a playoff team that had a lot of success and when Amari came into this, we did some really good things,” he said. “You don’t want to discount any of that. You want to embrace all that and at the same time find some other avenues or roads that we can go down and see where that takes us and see where it evolves.”