Jean-Jacques Taylor: Kellen Moore Holds Key to Jason Garrett's Future

For awhile Sunday, it looked like Jason Garrett would coach the first Pro Bowl team to ever get shut out.

Alas, Dak Prescott threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Atlanta’s Austin Hooper 9:04 left in the fourth quarter to avoid the humiliation.

The AFC beat the NFC 26-7, but Garrett’s offense -- even in a worthless exhibition -- looked as bad as it did during the regular the game. In a game where neither team put forth much effort or demonstrated a desire to play any defense the NFC offense managed just 148 yards and 3.3 yards per play.

The NFC was 1-10 on third down and totaled just two plays of more than 20 yards.


The game did, however, give Kellen Moore an opportunity to get familiar with the mechanics of calling plays, something he’s expected to do this season.

Considering, Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley rushed the passer on one third-down play and Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey caught a touchdown pass, the game wasn’t that serious.

Then again, the Cowboys’ offense was pathetic much of the year, which is why Scott Linehan lost his job.

Moore, the favorite to replace him, has been lauded for having a creative mind that will maximize the Cowboys’ offense.

We’ll see.

No one knows because the 30-year-old has never called plays at any level. Heck, he’s only been a quarterbacks coach for one season.

He's a guy that people always said he can't do this or can't do that, but he's the winningest quarterback in college football history," Prescott told the Dallas Morning News last week said. "You can say it's college, but he's made a career for himself in the NFL for a long time because of how he knows the game, how quick he is at processing the information, seeing defenses, learning and knowing what is happening offensively and defensively.

"He's just got the mind for it."

Moore will probably have the fate of Garrett’s employment on his play-sheet because there’s no one left for Garrett to fire.

After the 2017 season, the Cowboys added a new wide receivers, offensive line, tight ends and quarterbacks coach.

Now, Linehan is out.

There’s no one left to fire on the offensive staff if Moore and Jon Kitna, who’s expected to be named quarterbacks coach, cant fix what ails a unit that finished 22nd in the NFL In points (21.2) and yards (343.8).

Garrett has a year left on the five-year, $30 million deal he signed after the 2014 season. Jones seems intent on making him earn a new deal with another playoff season in 2019, which makes sense.

After all, the Cowboys have not had consecutive 10-win seasons or playoff appearances since 1995 and 1996. They have won just two playoff games in his eight full seasons as head coach.

Having a lame duck status might bother some coaches, but it shouldn’t bother Garrett. Remember, he’s the dude who lives in the moment.

He’s focused on having a good meeting, followed by a good practice, followed by yet another good meeting. He’s much more focused on today than tomorrow or yesterday, so his contract status won’t be a distraction.


Although Garrett refused to discuss any staff changes at the Pro Bowl, Moore installed the offense and Kitna worked with the quarterbacks.

That’s just silly.

Owner Jerry Jones has already said Kitna has been added to the staff, and Vice President has alluded to it.

No harm would come from Garrett talking about the merits of Moore or Kitna - even if he didn’t want to acknowledge their roles on the staff.

Instead, he told reporters that he didn’t want to add to the noise surrounding the team. That’s odd because Garrett has forever claimed he doesn’t pay attention to anything that happens outside of The Star.


Perhaps, he’s feeling the pressure of expectations for the first time as the Cowboys’ coach.

It would make sense because he’s smart enough to understand he’s the next coach to be fired if Moore can’t improve the Cowboys’ offense.

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