FRISCO, Texas – It's one of the biggest storylines surrounding this 2020 Dallas Cowboys team.
It's also one of the hardest to gauge from the outside.
Mike McCarthy enters his first season as the Cowboys' head coach with a wealth of knowledge and experience. His offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, is entering just his second year at that position – but is also following a season in which he oversaw the NFL's No. 1 offense.
From the day McCarthy was hired, it has been widely speculated how a head coach with decades of experience as an offensive mind might work in harmony with his hotshot young coordinator.
For his part, McCarthy has expressed confidence that it isn't an issue – and he's not shying away from that as the season draws nearer.
"At the end of the day, and I can't state this enough, Kellen Moore -- he's the coordinator, and he's the play caller," McCarthy said on Wednesday. "So he has to be in total confidence and familiarity and comfort in what we've put into all of our installations."
Going all the way back to January, much has been made of the way McCarthy would adapt himself to Moore, who clearly ran a plenty successful offense during the 2019. At the same time, it would be silly to assume McCarthy – a successful offensive coordinator in his own right, long before he became a head coach – would not make his mark on the Cowboys' offense.
McCarthy elaborated on that process Wednesday, acknowledging that football isn't always as complicated as it's made out to be.
"There's common concepts that were run here in the past that I've run for 20-plus years in this league, and then there's concepts that I didn't run in my past that were run here that I think are exceptional, so we'll run those," he said. "And there's some things that I have history in that weren't run here that we put in. That's really what it came down to."
Perhaps most importantly, it sounds like the Cowboys' quarterback is on board. Speaking after McCarthy on Wednesday, Dak Prescott was asked about the sense of continuity with Moore in charge of the offense.
Prescott made it fairly clear how important he thinks that is moving forward.
"I had a talk early on with McCarthy, just the importance of it being Kellen's show and the way that he does things," Prescott said. "The majority of the quarterbacks you look in the league that have had a lot of success have stayed in the same system, so that was the big importance for him, was to keep me and the rest of this offense in the same system and take what we've done over the past few years and grow on that."
None of this is to say the Cowboys' offense can't improve. The Cowboys bogged down at times in the red zone last year. They also notably had a handful of games where their high-powered offense failed to score more than 10 points. There are surely things they can do to improve, whether they come from McCarthy's influence or Moore's continued experience in the offense.
Either way, it sounds like something McCarthy is mindful of, and a balance he's not interested in upsetting.
"I do feel the empowerment of assistant coaches and coordinators is very important," McCarthy said.
"I've gone out of my way to not make Kellen feel like I'm trying to step on his toes because that's not the environment we're going to have here."