July 6, 2022

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PFF shockingly ranks Cowboys’ Kellen Moore above…

4 min read
PFF shockingly ranks Cowboys' Kellen Moore above...

At one point at the beginning of the offseason, the Dallas Cowboys thought they may lose their play caller as offensive coordinator Kellen Moore received many interviews for the nine vacant head coaching positions around the league. Moore spoke with multiple teams and was even a finalist for the Miami Dolphins job.

However, it seemed like some Cowboys fans were borderline disappointed when Moore ultimately returned to Dallas. People were ready to let the OC walk and see someone with fresh eyes and ideas come in and lead the offense.

But it wasn’t all bad for Moore. At least not at the start.

For the first six games of the 2021 season, Moore did the play calling for one of the best offenses in professional football. The team scored at least 35 points in four of those six games and had over 400 offensive yards in five.

That impressive stretch is likely the reason Pro Football Focus ranked Moore as the No. 2 overall play caller in the entire league. Shocked? Us too. What’s even more appalling is who he was ranked above. Here are the top 6, per PFF:

  1. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Kellen Moore, Dallas Cowboys
  3. Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  4. Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
  5. Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
  6. Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers

Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore ranked shockingly high on PFF’s top NFL play callers list

Before we get into why this seems a bit lofty, let’s tell you how this ranking was done. The writer took into account expected points added (EPA) and success rate going into games as well as PFF grades of opponents. A team with a really good offensive unit, therefore, would have a high EPA going into a play. That coach would need to outpace those expectations. Schedule difficulty was also added in.

Given all of this, it still doesn’t make sense to deem Moore worthy of this list in general, especially above offensive minds like Shanahan, McVay, and LaFleur. Moore has not won a Super Bowl nor has he gotten his team past the first round of playoffs. Plus, the only man he is ranked underneath is likely to be a future Hall of Fame coach.

After the first six games of the Cowboys season, the play calling and offense as a whole plummeted majorly. The times when the Cowboys were able to score were when they played easy competition. After Thanksgiving, the Cowboys only faced two playoff teams and they got to rack up points against Washington twice and the New York Giants.

Let’s also keep in mind the friendly wager between the offense and defense that occurred last season. At one point in the second half of the year, the defense was scoring more points than the offense.

The reality is that after Dak Prescott’s calf injury, the offense was never the same. Part of that should be blamed on Moore. Yes, it’s not ideal when your quarterback is injured. But, as the team’s play caller, Moore needed to be able to add more versatility and creativity than he ever did. The exciting plays and maneuvers were gone when December rolled around.

Although we may disagree, here is PFF’s explanation:

This might be a head-scratcher for some, but Moore was terrific in 2021. 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.

Terrific is a large overstatement. Moore couldn’t adjust when things got tough, and the disappointing Wild Card loss to the 49ers was a sad example of exactly that. The team had several opportunities to get back in the game, and Moore failed to get them there.

Again, Moore did have good moments in 2021. But he was far from consistent. While it’s nice to see Cowboys coaches get good recognition, a top 2 play caller sadly feels like a stretch.

PFF shockingly ranks Cowboys’ Kellen Moore above McVay, others as a play caller