After scoring just three points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their opening match, Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy stated that his team needed to make better offensive plays. He specifically mentioned some weaknesses in offensive coordinator Kellen Moon.
McCarthy was not denying Moore’s knowledge or the Cowboys’ scheme, but he acknowledged that different personnel might be needed to run the offense. This is especially true considering Dak Preston’s Week1 injury. The Cowboys’ recent love for the aggressive look with a passing attack that featured CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper, as well as Michael Gallup, may need to be relegated.
“And let’s be honest,” McCarthy said on Friday, “in Kellen’s time as a coordinator, he’s been able to play very, very aggressive. We’re in a phase right now that we’ve got to be a little smarter, in certain situations. So that’s all part of growing as a play caller.”
— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) September 16, 2022
With 530 points, the Cowboys led the league in scoring in 2021. Some of that was due to a remarkably opportunistic defense which created short fields and points for them. Prescott was also ninth in the league’s yards per pass attempt. NFL Next Gen Stats shows that Prescott was in top half of league in 2021 for average intended air yards. This indicates that he was trying push the ball downfield.
The Cowboys were left with a weak offensive line and a poor receiving corps, without Cooper (traded to Clevelands Browns) or Gallup (knee injuries). Cowboys fans were disappointed to hear that there were no touchdowns, less then 250 yards of total offense and only three points in the league after one game.
McCarthy’s quote is incisive, but his introduction to the “we have to be a bit smarter” line made it clear that the Cowboys had worked all offseason building the offense and that changing on the fly can be difficult.
“Kellen and the offensive staff have been working on this since April. Shoot, longer than April — with the players since April,” McCarthy said. “so we’ve just gotta trust what we’ve built on our menu. You’ve gotta adjust when you have a change in lineup, and we definitely are working through that and want to make sure we’re helping, but maybe not being as conservative as you like to be.”