Mike McCarthy retires as Cowboys part ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore

Kellen Moore’s tenure as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator has come to an end.

His successor is already present.

The club and Moore came to what is described as a mutual decision to part ways, and teams in the NFL seeking a coordinator are aware of Moore’s status, multiple people have told the outcome The Dallas Morning News. Head coach Mike McCarthy will take over the game after Moore’s departure, a person with knowledge of the uproar said.

Moore’s position on the staff has dominated conversations between McCarthy, owner Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones at The Star over the past 48 hours. Replacing Moore as the play caller was only part of the equation. The goal was to determine if the Cowboys could upgrade the spot.

McCarthy is the only coach on the current staff who lives up to that expectation. McCarthy won a Super Bowl and called plays in Green Bay, but he was hesitant to do so when he took the job in Dallas three years ago, saying he wanted to keep the same system and mechanics to make the quarterback Dak as comfortable as possible. to make. Prescott.

With Kellen Moore fired, Mike McCarthy is now under pressure to fix Dak Prescott

The idea was that fame was the best way for Prescott to keep growing as a quarterback. But this season, Prescott suffered through a career-high 15 interceptions and threw two in the playoff loss to San Francisco. There was no progress.

The current construction of the offensive staff indicates that the Cowboys will look outside the organization to fill the coordinator role that does not include call plays. It seems likely that quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier, whose contract has expired, will also fall victim to this change of direction.

Moore, who has one year left on his contract, just interviewed for the Carolina head coaching vacancy that went to Frank Reich. Moore would be an attractive candidate for several offensive coordinator positions available throughout the league.

The club released a press release on Thursday before McCarthy’s end-of-season press conference that listed six coaches whose contracts would not be renewed. If a decision had to be made about Moore, some wondered why it wasn’t announced at the time.

The reason: Moore had an interview for the head coaching job at Carolina. He and McCarthy only met briefly before Thursday’s press conference. The two didn’t have a chance to talk and conduct Moore’s evaluation until Friday.

When McCarthy was asked directly in that press conference if Moore would return as coordinator, McCarthy ignored the question.

“I really don’t want to play this game today,” the Cowboys’ head coach told reporters. “It’s been a long few days.

“Kellen Moore, like the rest of the coaches, will be evaluated. Every coach is evaluated. The evaluation takes more than a day.

The Cowboys finished fourth in the NFL in regular-season scoring with a 27.5-point average. They did this even though Prescott missed five games with a broken thumb on his throwing hand.

Dallas led the league last year with a 31.2 point average and scored a franchise-record 530 points.

So why is the organization continuing? One reason is the disconnect between regular season production and the playoffs.

The Cowboys averaged just 14.5 points in their two postseason losses to San Francisco in the past 13 months. Dallas scored only six points and failed to find the end zone in the second half of the 19-12 divisional round loss to the 49ers to end the season.

Another reason is the dip in Prescott’s performance. His 15 interceptions tied for the league’s worst total, even though he missed five games with a broken thumb on his throwing hand.

Prescott was drafted by the Cowboys in 2016. He immediately moved up the depth chart in training camp when Moore, then Tony Romo’s team backup quarterback, broke his leg early in camp.

Moore did not play that season, but he worked closely with the rookie throughout and was credited with helping him adjust to the pro game. Moore retired at the end of the following season and was asked by then-coach Jason Garrett to join his staff as Prescott’s quarterbacks coach.

When the offensive coordinator job became vacant at the end of the 2018 season, Prescott lobbied for Moore to get the job. McCarthy had never worked with Moore when he took over as head coach of the Cowboys in January 2020. Moore was not part of the same coaching tree, but McCarthy made the decision to keep him on as offensive coordinator.

Why? Chris Petersen was Moore’s college coach. McCarthy remembered how much Petersen felt about Moore as a player and his football spirit coming from Boise State.

McCarthy also saw how Prescott had developed after his rookie season and quickly recognized the bond the quarterback had forged with Moore. When he sat down and talked to Moore, he was convinced it was best for the Cowboys that Moore stayed.

“Obviously I thought this was best for Dak, and this is what I’ve said to Dak when we talk about football,” McCarthy said after taking over as coach of the Cowboys. “This is his foul. I want him to commit the same foul all his career.”

The violation persists.

But for the first time in Prescott’s career with the Cowboys, Moore will not be there. There will be a new voice in the quarterback’s ear.

And it will be McCarthy who plays the leading role.

Staff writer Michael Gehlken contributed to this report.

Catch David Moore and Robert Wilonsky as they co-host Intentional Grounding on The Ticket (KTCK-AM 1310 and 96.7 FM), every Wednesday night from 7-8 PM during the Super Bowl.

Twitter: @DavidMooreDMN

Find more Cowboys coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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