FRISCO, Texas – Kellen Moore and Mike McCarthy didn't know each other personally until McCarthy took the Cowboys' head coaching job three weeks ago.
But watching Moore from afar last year, McCarthy was impressed with the first-year play caller – so much, in fact, that McCarthy would've had interest in adding to Moore to his coaching staff even if he hadn't ended up in Dallas.
That's why Moore is back for his second year as Cowboys offensive coordinator – and why McCarthy doesn't anticipate wholesale scheme changes on offense in 2020.
The 31-year-old Moore reportedly drew interest from the University of Washington – his home state – and its previously vacant offensive coordinator position earlier this month. But he saw an "awesome opportunity" to work under McCarthy, who is widely respected around the league for his success coaching Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers from 2006-18.
Now starts the process of building the offense here.
"A work in progress. We've barely touched the surface," Moore said Monday. "We're in January still and so we're starting to recognize some things, touching on, OK, where was 2019 and then where is a lot of the things that Mike is familiar with. And then let's build this thing into the 2020 offense."
The Cowboys ranked first in total offense (431.5 yards per game) and sixth in scoring offense (27.1 points per game) and quarterback Dak Prescott (4,902) was one yard shy of the franchise's all-time single-season record.
McCarthy has said he would like to keep the offense's language the same and "build off of what's in place" with Moore remaining the play caller. Doug Nussmeier has also transitioned from tight ends coach to quarterbacks coach, keeping some continuity for Prescott.
"Certainly it's very appreciated," Moore said. "And certainly I know that at the end of the day this thing will be collaborative, and we'll work through it together and we'll find the best situation and the best outcome out of it."
Moore was well aware of McCarthy's success in Green Bay over the years. He began his NFL career in 2012 as a Detroit Lions backup quarterback within the NFC North.
He expects some tweaks and changes to the system as they move through the offseason, taking advantage of McCarthy's experience.
"Obviously we've got the ability to mold it however we want. That's the fun part of it," Moore said. "We don't need to rush into that. Take advantage of all the different coaches that are in our staff, guys coming from a lot of different backgrounds, and let's try and use all that.
"I think we've got to take our time – as much time as we have to go through that process and make sure everything connects and we have a why to everything."
The process is very early, but Moore says he and McCarthy "see the game in a lot of ways the same."
"You want to attack people different ways, the importance of making sure the run game and the actions that go off of it, that those all complement and they're tied together," Moore said. "I think that's the biggest thing."