DALLAS — Ask anyone around Dallas-Fort Worth where Kellen Moore should rank among active offensive play-callers, and the sentiment would be among the middle of the pack.
Ask Pro Football Focus and the Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator has a rather lofty ranking.
According to Eric Eager from Pro Football Focus, who ranked the offensive play-callers across the NFL ahead of the 2022 season, Moore came in at No. 2 behind none other than Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, a Super Bowl champion and presumptive Hall of Fame coach.
"This might be a head-scratcher for some, but Moore was terrific in 2021," writes Eager. "The Cowboys managed to rank third in yards per play and first in points scored despite dealing with injuries to the offensive line, the continued fall-off of running back Ezekiel Elliott, a season-ending injury to wideout Michael Gallup and a significant decline from quarterback Dak Prescott post-calf injury. Not to mention, Moore helped backup signal-caller Cooper Rush win a primetime game in Minnesota. It was a pretty impressive season for the former Boise State quarterback."
What helped the Cowboys continue to rank in the top-3 in yards per play and points scored was the level of competition past Thanksgiving. The only playoff teams Dallas faced were the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys got a chance to beat up on Washington twice along with the New York Giants.
The defense also scored four touchdowns in the final six weeks, which are added to the "points scored" total with no differentiation as to which unit scored the points. Dallas also posted 50-point performances against teams with inferior quarterbacks in Washington and Philadelphia, who was resting starter Jalen Hurts for the playoffs.
Nevertheless, Moore had fascinating play-calls throughout the year, and exhibited a high level of discernment. But the Cowboys offense sputtered after Prescott returned from his calf injury. Moore wasn't able to find the right play-calls to help his inconsistent quarterback. The wild-card playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers was a perfect encapsulation of the problems Dallas faced in the back half of the season. The offense failed to score 20 points against a good team, and yet only lost by a touchdown or less.
The 33-year-old, who enters his fourth season as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator, doesn't deserve some of the criticism thrown his way. However, ranking Moore ahead of Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay, who came in at No. 5 on the list, seems faulty when factoring in the success Moore has yet to experience and McVay already has.
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