Kellen Moore went from Dallas Cowboys hero to villain

: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys offense started the season on fire with Kellen Moore calling the plays. But as of late, Kellen has been more villain than hero. In all fairness, the Cowboys still have the top offense statistically, but there are certainly some issues that escape the big picture.

The Cowboys have struggled in the red zone this season and currently sit at sixteenth in red zone scoring percentage (TD Only). While the Cowboys are in the top ten in yardage, touchdowns, passing yards, rushing yards, fewest interceptions, and yards per offensive play, they are middle of the league in scoring percentage. And don’t forget, they are the most penalized team in the league.

While Kellen hasn’t been awful, there are some concept issues that have arisen through the weeks. The most notable issue is how Dallas attacks the cover two. Amari Cooper criticized them for it before the Washington game, and the Dallas Cowboys seemed to listen. But it was a fleeting moment and Moore slipped back into old habits again last week.

Kellen Moore has the Dallas Cowboys as the top-rated offense in the league this year but things are far from perfect

The answer to why they are doing this isn’t as easy as pointing to one thing or one player. There are multiple reasons why but very few make sense. Yes, there is some thought that Kellen is keeping the playbook fairly vanilla in hopes of breaking it out in the playoffs. While there is some logic behind this as the offense has looked so different in terms of pre and at-the-snap motion, taking shots downfield (some is the defense being played), and routes. But the answer to why is somewhere mixed into these issues, and probably more.

This is not all on Moore, but it needs to start here. Yes, Dak Prescott has had some up and down moments, the penalties are killers, the run game has looked anemic, and blocking has been shaky. But it is the job of the offensive coordinator to figure these things out. What Moore has failed to show over the past half-season is the ability to adjust to these things. However, early on there were indications that he could.

So the answer is probably deeper than just the simple playcalling. Moore has to find ways to get the offense in rhythm, and speeding up the game has helped Dak and the offense when they have implemented it. Moore has to start being able to adjust quickly and call plays that are based on what the defense is showing. Yes, players need to execute, but the wrong play against the right defense won’t work a majority of the time.

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With one regular-season game left, it is too late to revamp the offense, but it is not too late to mix up the play-calling. Adding back in the motion, speeding up the rhythm, and calling plays to fit the defensive strategy would help. A push deep into the playoffs will probably require more than what we have seen over the past half-season, but the first half of the season does give hope it is still there.