The Dallas Cowboys will face Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon. After failing in New Orleans, can Kellen Moore ace this week’s test?
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off their most inept performance of the young season as they prepare to face one of the most gifted quarterbacks that the league has ever seen. While that is one issue for the coaches and defensive players to worry about, there is another issue at hand.
After exploding onto the scene, literally exploding when you consider the offensive games he called during the first three weeks of the season, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore‘s offense and offensive play calling left a ton to be desired this past Sunday night in New Orleans. It even had some people wondering and asking if Scott Linehan had taken over Moore’s body and play sheet.
This is especially concerning for a few reasons. The first reason is that we know what this offense is capable of against subpar competition, as it was across the first three weeks. The second reason is that the Cowboys’ offense was so explosive against those weaker teams, it has us wondering about which was the aberration? Were the first three weeks the norm, were the first weeks a facade, or was Sunday Night on one of the biggest platforms and in one of the roughest home stadiums for opposing teams the norm?
The last reason is that although those teams we faced across the first three weeks were awful in general, this New Orleans Saints’ defense that held the Cowboys to just 10 points is ranked near the bottom of the league in total yards allowed. The New Orleans Saints’ defense ranks number 26 of 32 through the first four weeks of the season, allowing 391.2 yards per contest according to NFL.com.
Furthermore, we are also talking about a Saints defense that has allowed 23 points per game to the opposing offense, a number that ranks them near the middle of the pack there or around the 16th slot down. Well, it only gets harder this week when you consider the fact that the Green Bay Packers are tied as the 10th ranked defense, only allowing 330.2 points per game.
Even more terrifying after last week’s lackluster offensive showing, the Packers are ranked seventh as far as points allowed per game go at just 17.2 points per contest, which is still a little over a touchdown more than the Boys scored on last week. Kellen Moore certainly has his work cut out for him.
As we noted on the last time that we had a chance to come together here, no one on the Cowboys’ offense had an especially spectacular or even a good showing last week. Dak was decent, but not explosive and neither was Ezekiel Elliott, which was only compounded by Amari Cooper being taken out of the game by Marshon Lattimore. It also didn’t help that two of the most reliable players on the team had turnovers, with fumbles coming out of the hands of both Zeke and Old Reliable in Jason Witten.
The previous sentiments on the offense were expressed to say this, it is a given and a must that the offense and its composing players must be better, but they must be better assisted as well. This puts the crosshairs firmly on the offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore here and as we know. He has to be better against a Packers defense that is the best version of itself that it has been in quite a few seasons.
If Kellen Moore’s offensive play calling is as conservative or vanilla as it was last week, it will turn out really bad for this Cowboys team. If Ezekiel Elliott isn’t being effective as a runner, just smashing along into the backs of offensive lineman, then you must find a way to get him out on the perimeter, into pass-catching situations, or dare I say, out of there in hopes that Tony Pollard can create offense from that position with his more quick-twitch speedy style of play.
If Amari Cooper isn’t getting open(or dropping balls as he does), you must draw up plays or designs that use him as a decoy while getting the other receivers involved, because the Cowboys have a few that can make plays if need be. The reported return of Michael Gallup to this Cowboys lineup should help there as well.
Kellen Moore is facing his second big test in just a matter of two weeks and last week’s test didn’t go that well for him. If he wants to maintain some of the luster that he garnered throughout his first three weeks as the Cowboys’ play-caller, he needs to have a plan for this week that looks more similar to the first three weeks as opposed to the garbage we saw on Sunday night. If he can do this, passing his next and upcoming test, it will keep Cowboys’ faithful on his side and therefore, off of his behind.