Mike McCarthy may have let the french fries out of the bag.
In tight-lipping his latest response to ever-present Kellen Moore job rumors, the Dallas Cowboys head coach indicated the wunderkind offensive coordinator is leaning toward joining Boise State as its new HC.
“As far as Kellen’s potential opportunity, that’s really not for me to speak on,” McCarthy said, via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. “I think that’s something that we’ll ultimately speak on. I can only tell you that we think the world of Kellen. He’s done an incredible job here. We definitely respect and understand the uniqueness of this opportunity to Boise, himself and his family. I think at the right time, that’s really for Kellen and Boise State to speak on. I’ve probably said too much already, but we think the world of him.”
The dot-connecting involving Moore and his alma mater began in earnest when it was announced that BSU HC Bryan Harsin is defecting to Auburn. As of last Wednesday, however, McCarthy hadn’t discussed with Moore his potential succession of Harsin.
“I have not talked to Kellen (Moore) yet about it, which is not abnormal. Wednesday’s a busy day where you’re putting in the game plan,” McCarthy said, via Radio.com. “But, I’m sure, if there’s something to talk about we’ll definitely talk about it. I think with anything (involving) career advancement you just handle those opportunities on an individual basis.”
Before he’d call plays for the Cowboys, Moore was quarterbacking BSU from 2008-2011. He finished his collegiate tenure having completed 1,157 passes for 14,667 yards, 142 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. Moore was a Heisman finalist in 2010 and the first QB in FBS history to record at least 50 career wins.
Moore went undrafted in 2012 and lasted three seasons with the Detroit Lions before bolting to the Cowboys, with whom he’d spend the 2015-17 campaigns as a backup. In 2018, he announced his retirement and subsequent foray into coaching; his first gig was a big one: Cowboys QBs coach.
In 2019, Moore was promoted to OC under then-HC Jason Garrett. He was an instant hit with franchise QB Dak Prescott, devising an offense that ranked in the top-five in most statistical categories. Moore was retained this past offseason by McCarthy, who granted the 32-year-old full play-calling autonomy.
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Confirming swirling speculation, FootballScoop.com reported Saturday that BSU is “targeting” the Cowboys’ offensive play-caller as their next head man, a deal which could fall together in the “coming days.”
“Sources tell FootballScoop Boise State is targeting Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to become the next head coach of the Broncos,” the report stated. “Sources add that if Moore does choose to return to Boise, over remaining in the NFL, Boise would like to agree to terms in the coming days.”
Former Cowboys exec and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Gil Brandt was among the first to posture Moore’s one-way ticket back to the Gem State. Brandt tweeted: “The Boise St job is one of the best in America. Great facilities, supportive admin, can easily recruit west coast, great place to raise family. It doesn’t have to be a stepping-stone job but it has landed many coaches much bigger gigs. Kellen Moore would be an excellent choice.”
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Moore called a brilliant game in Sunday’s stomping of the Philadelphia Eagles, which improved Dallas’ record to 6-9 and kept them kicking in the NFC East title race.
The offense was explosive under QB Andy Dalton, who finished 22-of-30 for 377 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, logging a 134.7 passer rating. Dalton spawned a pair of 100-yard performances from receivers Michael Gallup (six catches, 121 yards, two TDs) and Amari Cooper (4-121), and a 52-yard highlight-reel score by rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb (3-65-1).
The Cowboys experienced a duality they hadn’t since Prescott went down, with embattled running back Ezekiel Elliott producing 105 rushing yards on 19 carries (while understudy Tony Pollard was limited to 12 yards on nine totes). The offense collectively totaled 513 yards and 22 first downs on just 13 drives, controlling the clock for 30:38.
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL