The latest Cowboys news and notes.
This is Dak Prescott’s first time working with Kellen Moore as the offensive coordinator and Jon Kitna as the quarterback coach. There’s no doubt Prescott is very comfortable with Moore from the time he’s spent on the roster and as the quarterback coach. But offensive coordinator is a different beast. Prescott and Moore are feeling out the plays Prescott is most comfortable with, while also discussing how to approach pressure situations and more.
“Me and Kellen talk often about things we like and where this offense is going,” Prescott said. “It’s great. I can say, right now, I’m probably as confident and comfortable as I’ve been.”
Prescott is also getting used to Moore’s voice. Talking in meeting rooms and coaching on the field are different from when a quarterback has somebody in his ear telling him the play calls.
“Just a sense of calmness and confidence,” Prescott said on what he likes to hear from his offensive coordinator. “I get that from Kellen. I’ve gotten that from him every year. You got that when he was playing the game. … Now to have him as a coach, you know when he’s calling the plays, he believes in it, he’s very convicted about it, and you could feel it.”
What will Kellen Moore bring from his Boise State days to offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys?
One of the big storylines for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason is new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Scott Linehan was replaced after his scheme was seen as stale and not taking full advantage of the weapons the Cowboys had on offense. The idea being that Moore will take the Cowboys offensive scheme and perform a refresh. We’ve been trying to track that as well as we can, first by projecting some changes we might see based on what Moore ran at Boise State. Then we checked in on some changes with the offensive line and wide recievers at OTAs. Finally, we looked at the different personnel combinations that were being observed at OTAs. Reading through all of that would be an excellent primer as to what is coming from the Cowboys offense.
We’d like to add one more look at Moore, this time from another site. Inside the Pylon does excellent work breaking down football strategy, schemes – basically all things that an amateur coach would want to read. They took on Kellen Moore and put together a must read.
They include this quote from Moore to set the stage of what should be coming for the Cowboys offense:
Our whole goal from an outside perspective is to make it look as confusing as possible. And at the end of the day it’s pretty simple for us. It’s a lot of the same concepts, it’s a lot of ways of doing the same things.
Moore describing the Boise State offense
A big piece of the Cowboys offense is their center, Travis Frederick. The All-Pro’s health will be a major factor in 2019.
At his peak, there aren’t many centers better than Travis Frederick. The Cowboys took the Wisconsin product in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, and the selection immediately paid dividends. Frederick earned the Day One starting job, playing in every game and earning NFL All-Rookie honors.
Frederick’s rookie season foreshadowed greatness, and Frederick delivered on said promise over the next four years. The former first-round pick continued to solidify the interior of the offensive line, earning Pro Bowl nods in every year from 2013 to 2017 without missing a game. His best season came in 2016, when he earned First-Team All-Pro honors while helping rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott lead the league in rushing yards.
It’s no secret that the Cowboys offensive line took a step back in 2018. According to Football Outsiders, Dallas finished the year with the eighth-best run blocking line and the 28th-best pass blocking line. By comparison, the Cowboys ranked 4th and 15th in 2017 and 4th and 13th in 2016. Frederick’s absence isn’t entirely responsible for this dip in play, but there’s no denying he makes a quantifiable impact across the line. Joe Looney filled in admirably, but this team is at its’ best when Frederick is snapping the ball.
Another big piece of the Cowboys’ offense is Zeke. How concerned do we need to be about him off-field?
There are a lot of different opinions among Cowboys Nation regarding Ezekiel Elliott’s recent altercation with a security guard in Las Vegas. As reported by TMZ, Zeke was having a discussion with his girlfriend and later got close to a security guard asking “You got something to say?” The guard then falls down, the video is posted and headlines are exaggerated.
Since then, the team has publicly said they’re not concerned at all about the situation. Maybe they don’t have to be. As an individual event, it certainly seems like a very minor thing. He wasn’t arrested, as many media outlets wanted to make it sound worse than it really was, although he was handcuffed at first. Ezekiel Elliott has been present at practice and for now, things look like they will be fine.
However, I can’t help being a bit concerned. First of all, it’s worth mentioning the NFL will likely review the situation, according to Charles Robinson from Yahoo Sports. As much as the incident looks like a ridiculous thing, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the league opening an investigation on a player they’ve already handed a six-game suspension to in the past. If they do, there’s no way of knowing what conclusion they arrive to.
Speaking of the running back position, should the Cowboys look into the Rob Kelley?
Over the last few years, the Cowboys have typically had an experienced player as their number-two running back. From Rod Smith to Alfred Morris to Darren McFadden, the team has had solid depth throughout Ezekiel Elliott’s time as the starter.
Even if Dallas is hoping for success out of its two rookies running backs, it wouldn’t hurt to sign Kelley for the minimum and let him compete. There would be no risk and you might get more out of him than Washington, with their offensive issues the last few years, ever could.
The Cowboys are always looking for good deals, and Rob Kelley offers one of the better combinations of youth, experience, and minimal expense among the current free agents. If they want to add more depth to the running back position, he could be a smart way to go.
What will the final roster for the Cowboys look like? Could Dallas opt to load up in the trenches?
Yes, you are reading this correctly. I firmly believe that the Dallas Cowboys will carry 12 defensive linemen into week one against the Giants. Why?
Lawrence may still need some time to get up to his expected workload following offseason shoulder surgery.
Rod Marinelli loves coming at opposing teams in waves.
It’s unclear at this moment whether Gregory will be available in week one but I have a feeling he will be allowed to play.
This team is loaded up front with many versatile options that can play multiple spots.
Get to know the Cowboys defensive coordinator a little better…
6. A keeper
Once teams get their hands on Marinelli, they don’t want to let him go. Dallas did not give Tampa Bay permission to interview Marinelli when Lovie Smith took the head coaching job there in 2014.
Smith had a similar experience as Chicago Bears head coach when he wanted to bring in Marinelli as defensive coordinator in 2004. It wasn’t until Marinelli was fired as the Lions’ head coach following the 2008 season that Smith was able to hire Marinelli as assistant head coach/defensive line in 2009.
Loyalty is very important to Marinelli. Though the Bears wanted to retain him after Smith was fired, Marinelli left and joined Dallas’ staff.
Moore wrote a great piece on Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith and his promise to his mother.
Jaylon Smith had a choice. He could immerse himself in the Cowboys offseason program, soak in the sometimes profane wisdom of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, or wrestle with Descartes.
He could dive back into his playbook or study the murals of Diego Rivera and David Siqueiros.
Smith is passionate about football. But he chose to honor a promise made to his mother, Sophia, that once his NFL career was underway he would return to Notre Dame to finish his degree. He made good on that promise a little more than two weeks ago.
The nerves he felt as he walked the stage compare to what he experiences in the moments before he takes the field for the Cowboys.
”I was shocked to be nervous as my name was being called,’’ the linebacker said. “Standing in line to go up on the stage, I felt nerves, but I told myself to just embrace it.