Tensions were already simmering in Dallas after Dak Prescott’s thumb injury when head coach Mike McCarthy challenged offensive coordinator Kellen Moore on Friday.
The Cowboys are 1-0 after a disappointing 19-3 loss to the Buccaneers in Week 1 and Prescott will now miss six to eight weeks, according to reports ESPNthe offense didn’t exactly set the world on fire before Prescott left the game in the fourth quarter.
“Let’s face it, when Kellen was coordinator, he could play very, very aggressively,” McCarthy said reporter.
“But we are in a phase right now where we have to be a little smarter in certain situations. It’s all part of growing as a play caller.
The Cowboys finished the Bucs game with just 244 total yards, including just 71 on the ground, and were the only team in the entire league not to have a touchdown in Week 1.
Now their focus will be on maximizing the talents of backup quarterback Cooper Rush, who will play in Prescott’s place.
Rush started in one game last season, traversing 325 yards and two touchdowns in an impressive display against the Vikings, though Prescott’s fall to him is expected to be significant.
Regardless, former Cowboys defenseman and ESPN analyst Marcus Spears believes it’s up to Moore to salvage the situation.
“The conversation has moved around Cooper Rush, but Kellen Moore — you’re on the clock,” he continued sport Center.
“This is your opportunity as an offensive coordinator to get creative and find out where your flaws lie and try to hide them. That is the job of an offensive coordinator.
“And everyone keeps telling me, well, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense is good. That’s the NFL, right.
“And I know we rank people for a reason, but if you’re not on par with what you have to do – if you have to focus on how good the other team is, that’s already a bad sign .
Moore is in his fourth season as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, and the team has performed statistically well this past season, with Prescott available for all but one regular-season game (he only played five games in 2020).
The team finished the league with the most offensive yards (6,919) and the second most yards per game (6.0).
However, the team only managed 17 points against 49ers in a first-round playoff loss, and that season also started on a dud.
And Moore’s job of revitalizing offense isn’t made any easier by some key absences from last year’s 12-5 roster.
“Amari Cooper is gone, Tyron Smith is [hurt]Cedric Wilson is gone, new offensive line you’re implementing,” Spears said.
‘Hey, you gotta earn that paycheck as an offensive coordinator… you gotta adapt.’