The Dallas Cowboys offense looked markedly improved on Sunday and Kellen Moore and his motion, formations, and deception are what should be credited most
These were not your 2018 Dallas Cowboys, my friends. The team we watched Sunday afternoon was a much different animal. And that’s a very good thing. Because the old Cowboys offense was stale; formations were telling, play-calling was transparent, and trickery was non-existent.
But this season, things look much different. Led by first year offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, the Dallas Cowboys offense was a sight to behold. Without changing much of anything with the playbook, Kellen Moore found a way to change everything. He did it with motion, creative formations, and some good old fashioned deception.
The primary reason motion is so important in the NFL is because it exposes the defense. Motioning players forces the defense to adjust and by adjusting the defense often signals their coverage and maybe even their overall intentions.
Nearly every snap on Sunday featured some kind of motion/shifting. Seriously. After doing very little motioning in 2018, the Dallas Cowboys offense utilized it on almost every single snap. This allowed Dak Prescott to make his pre-snap reads, and adjust the play (and his progressions) accordingly.
Dallas motioned in and out of multiple formations throughout the day. Some bunch formations and some spread formations. When the Giants defense came up to the line they had no idea where Dallas would be deploying their troops.
Previous seasons’ opponents could almost line up blindfolded. If Dallas was showing 11 personnel, defenses would know how Dallas would be lining up. 12 personnel – same predictably. But on Sunday, Dallas was completely unpredictable as to where they’d line up their playmakers. Credit their individual versatility but Kellen Moore kept shuffling the deck and seeing where he could find his best match-up. And he’s only scratched the surface on this. Tony Pollard, Tavon Austin, and Jamize Olawale all have skill sets that can be used a variety of ways.
Perhaps the most welcomed sight was the fact this offense wasn’t so darn transparent for once. Right out of the gate we saw Dallas use play-action with resounding success. It helped produce two touchdowns right down the middle of the field (an area Dak rarely targeted last season).
We know through long term studies, play-action is one of the most fruitful things an offense can do. It doesn’t even matter if the team is running the ball successfully or not. Last time Dallas played New York, Dallas all but abandoned play-action. Let’s hope that never happens again.
On top of play-action we saw legitimate Run-Pass Options and Read-Options. Dallas rarely used RPOs last season (which is mindboggling) and may be planning to make it more of a regular staple to their attack. The Read-option (which uses Dak as a running option) was strategically used as well.
Dak had a pair of fruitful runs where he converted for first down and kept the drive alive. We don’t need Dak to be a full-time ball carrier but strategically peppering in some runs is another way to keep defenses guessing.
The Dallas Cowboys offense finally caught up to the other elite offensive units in the NFL by using motion, creative formations, and deceit. Let’s hope it lasts.
- Published on 09/09/2019 at 12:37 PM
- Last updated at 09/09/2019 at 12:39 PM