FRISCO, Texas - Kellen Moore has come under fire by fans and media for the schematic flaws that led to the Cowboys suffering a 19-3 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, the offense owning the dubious distinction of being the only in the entire NFL to not score a touchdown in the season opener.
When asked about Moore's performance on Sunday, as Dallas readies to take on the equally challenging Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, Mike McCarthy had a lot of praise for Moore - owning some accountability himself as the team's head coach responsible for ensuring "all three coordinators are teed up to be successful".
"It's something I try to accomplish every single day so, yeah, I make sure Kellen knows that I'm there," said McCarthy on Friday. "We're going to take a lap today through the call sheet, and it may be a little longer [this week] - those types of things. The most important thing is not to overreact, and I want him to feel that from me. I've got to do a better job.
"We've all got to do a better job."
McCarthy did readily admit, however, that it's also true he'd like to see better decision-making in key situations that could turn the tide for or against the Cowboys as they try to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start to the 2022 season. For reference, one of the offense's lone bright spots was a productive day for Ezekiel Elliott - averaging 5.2 yards per carry - who was asked to take only 10 handoffs in a close, winnable game.
For his part, Elliott confessed 10 carries isn't enough, and it may again not be if the Cowboys are to help their defense keep a lid on a Bengals offense that has proven it can be lethal when given extra opportunities.
"Moore is in Year 3 now, so I've seen him grow in all five areas of the importance of being a coordinator and I have great confidence in him for Sunday," McCarthy said. "We've just got to trust what we've built on our menu, and we have to adjust when we have a change in the lineup - we're definitely working through that. We want to make sure we're helping but maybe not being as conservative as you'd like to be.
"In his time as a coordinator, he's been able to play very, very aggressively, but we're in a phase right now where we need to be a little smarter in certain situations. That's all part of growing as a play-caller."
Getting away from what was working against the Buccaneers helped lead the Cowboys to an 0-1 start, and while McCarthy still believes in Moore, it's also true that he sees room for improvement.