ARLINGTON, Texas – If he wasn’t a known name before, Kellen Moore will be now.
That wasn’t always the case – not even from within the Cowboys’ own organization. So when Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones credited his first-year offensive coordinator by name, it carried some extra weight.
“I want to speak to Kellen Moore, I thought he made that game exciting, made it a challenge for the Giants’ defense,” Jones said.
Asked about it later, Moore had the perfect response.
“Well, he got my name right. He used to call me Keelan,” Moore said. “It must mean I’m doing something right.”
That comment feels telling in the wake of Moore’s first game as offensive coordinator. In his four years with the Cowboys, the former quarterback has chosen his words carefully, opting to play things close to the vest.
It wasn’t an Earth shattering comment by any means, but Moore’s willingness to joke seems like an indicator of just how good the Cowboys were on Sunday.
Dak Prescott’s game speaks for itself, but there were plenty of other elements to consider. Yes, the Cowboys racked up 494 yards and 23 first downs, but they were also a fantastic 60 percent on third down. They averaged a whopping eight yards per play.
Perhaps most importantly, they were 100 percent in the red zone – where they struggled so obviously last season – by cashing in both of their opportunities for touchdowns.
“I don’t know if we ran one play tonight that hasn’t been in our offense for some time,” Prescott said. “But as I said, credit to Kellen of just dialing them up, putting it at the right time, knowing what the defense is going to give us. It resulted in a few wide open touchdowns.”
Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas ground game were fine, if not amazing. The Cowboys finished with just 89 rushing yards, but that didn’t stop Moore from calling for play action in favorable situations.
Riding those play fakes, Prescott twice duped the New York defense – once from 28 yards and once from 25 yards – for easy touchdown throws to Blake Jarwin and Randall Cobb, respectively.
“Just play action passes, tremendous job,” Moore said. “Obviously, when you have the ability to run it like we do, those ‘backers suck down and we had great opportunities behind it.”
That might sound elementary, but then maybe it doesn’t need to be difficult. Prescott already mentioned that the Cowboys aren’t necessarily running new plays. But they are changing how they present them to defenses, and when they call them for maximum effectiveness.
“It’s about how we’re presenting them, what we’re making the defense think it is and then what we’re actually getting to,” Prescott said. “We’re getting our best athletes in open space and in the areas we’re most comfortable with.”
It’s a small sample size, but it’s awfully encouraging. And it’s got the Cowboys feeling comfortable with their offensive coordinator.