Mike McCarthy Rips Ex-Cowboys Coordinator Kellen Moore Over Play Calling

Kellen Moore

Getty Images Quarterback Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys talks with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and head coach Mike McCarthy.

The Dallas Cowboys parted ways with Kellen Moore this offseason and head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t mince words on the issues he had with his ex-offensive coordinator.

McCarthy is set to take over the play-calling duties with Moore now out of the picture, although the Cowboys’ offense wasn’t exactly sluggish under Moore. However, McCarthy wanted more balance with the play-calling.

“Kellen wants to light the scoreboard up,” McCarthy said via the Dallas Morning News, “but I want him to run the damn ball so I can rest my defense.

“I think when you’re a coordinator, you know but you’re in charge of the offense. Being a head coach and being a play caller, you’re a little more in tune with (everything). I don’t desire to be the No. 1 offense in the league. I want to be the No. 1 team in the league with the number of wins and a championship. And if we’ve got to give up some production and take care of the ball a little better to get that, then that’s what we’ll do because we have a really good defense.”

McCarthy: ‘Play-Calling is Not a Popularity Contest’

The Cowboys averaged 31.24 rush attempts per game last season, per Stat Muse, utilizing their backfield duo of Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott. That number — which ranked in the top 10 — might be skewed just a little, considering quarterback Dak Prescott missed five games with a thumb injury, leading Dallas to lean more on the run game. The Cowboys averaged a very pedestrian 4.3 yards per carry.

What bothered McCarthy was that the Cowboys ranked 22nd in time of possession, which put more pressure on their elite defense. Prescott leading the NFL in interceptions certainly didn’t help either.

“The run game is not sexy,” McCarthy said. “It doesn’t get you the headlines and all that, but man, you got to win the time of possession.”

While McCarthy clearly had some philosophical differences with Moore, he did commend the former quarterback for his evolution as a play-caller.

“You know, play calling is not a popularity contest. And I think [Moore] did a hell of a job,” McCarthy said. “Look at the way he called games his first year and the way he called (them) last year. I think he evolved. He’s a better coach today than he was when I met him three years ago.”

McCarthy Looking Forward to Taking on New Duties

Moore wasn’t without a job for long. Shortly after parting ways with the Cowboys, Moore agreed to join the Chargers as their offensive coordaintor.

But McCarthy is happy to add the play-calling duties to his plate, with the veteran skipper saying it has added a new, fun element to his job.

“This is the most fun I’ve had since I’ve been in Dallas,” he said on taking over play-calling duties. “Just to be in the meeting room again with the coaches full time. Just to go 8 to 11:30 and break, and you’re talking nothing but scheme. I haven’t had that. So that part’s different.”

The Cowboys will have some personelle issues to figure out on offense this offseason. There are questions around the backfield, with Pollard set to become a free agent — if the Cowboys don’t use the franchise tag — and Elliott needing to restructure his contract. As far as wide receivers, the Cowboys have been very open that they want to add more depth behind CeeDee Lamb.

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