If Kellen Moore is any signpost, expectations are clearly set in Dallas.

The Cowboys parted ways with their fourth-year offensive coordinator on Sunday, ending days of speculation about Moore’s future. The announcement was made during the NFL’s conference championship game and guaranteed to make headlines on a day the Cowboys haven’t been in for 27 years.

Officially, the decision was mutual. What’s more, Moore has already reportedly agreed to take on the same job with the Los Angeles Chargers, making the 34-year-old pro a favorite among fellow playoff contenders with his bowled quarterback. What happened speaks to what the league thinks of him.

Nevertheless, there doesn’t seem to be any bad blood here. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy praised Moore’s role in developing Dak Prescott in his statement. “The production of our offense and his guidance of the Duck has been central to Kellen’s influence and we are grateful for his tenure and leadership,” McCarthy said.

But looking past the hollow back pat that happens in the official team statement, it’s easy to see the demarcation line that led to Moore’s departure. does not match what I was used to seeing.

Those regular season numbers are impressive. Over four seasons with Moore as playcaller, the Cowboys topped the league with two runs scored. Overall, they were the second-best offense in the NFL in both yards and scoring from 2019-22. This includes two seasons in which Prescott missed a lot of time due to injury.

But even with Tampa’s explosive wild-card performance this season, the postseason results didn’t match. reduced to points. This year’s divisional round elimination could have been worse with the 49ers staying with his 282 yards and his 12 points while Duck scored his two interceptions of Prescott.

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Speaking of Prescott, it’s also worth mentioning that the Cowboys’ starting quarterback threw 17 interceptions this season despite playing in just 14 games due to a thumb injury. That may or may not be the case, but it’s clearly easier to replace a coordinator than a quarterback who will spend about $50 million on the team’s salary cap this year.

The conclusion is clear. The Cowboys don’t care about regular season success. And while that’s a perfectly laudable sentiment, it takes on an even more significant layer after the Dallas Morning News reported that Moore’s replacement as playcaller would be none other than McCarthy himself.

Clearly, it’s not an unfamiliar role. McCarthy directed most of his 13 years of play at Green Bay, overseeing multiple Top 5 offenses. Not to mention the group that won Super Bowl XLV in Arlington.

Still, the situation feels a little more complicated than plugging an experienced play caller into a vacant seat. First, McCarthy has been out of the job for several years, having handed the role over to Moore when he was hired in 2020. He will also become Prescott’s first new playcaller since 2019 when Moore took over for Scott Linehan.

In addition, McCarthy needs an offensive coordinator to help install the offense, put together a game plan and execute the team’s practices. An early sign is that the Cowboys will seek candidates externally, but there’s also at least one internal option: former Seahawks offensive his coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, now working as an analyst in Dallas. increase.

Finally, there is one final layer worth considering. That’s what it means. Moore is no longer with the Cowboys, and it’s safe to say the lack of postseason success is the main reason. McCarthy is entering his season fourth on his five-year contract and has added his call to play to his plate.

The expectation is clear, that McCarthy can use his play-calling experience and acumen to produce better results. If not, could he be the organization’s scapegoat this time next year?

Feels like a reasonable guess. As much as McCarthy has reached the postseason in a row, it all feels hollow when he hasn’t advanced to the NFC Championship Game since the 1995 season, with division rivals like Philadelphia in the last five years. Add in the fact that he made it to his second Super Bowl, and there must be some urgency.

It may start now. It’s certainly one of the league’s most successful offensive coaches, and over the past few years he’s been interviewed for six head coaching vacancies, and now coaching Justin Herbert. It can be described as an urgent move to part ways with a serving man.

How well it does, however, will depend heavily on McCarthy. seems to be his responsibility.

No one knows if it works, but it sure looks intriguing.

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports. He previously spent nine his seasons covering the Cowboys on the team’s official website. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy Award for producing “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” about the quarterback era in Mississippi.Follow him on Twitter. @David Hermann_.

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