FRISCO, Texas — Kellen Moore will no longer be the offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys, ending a four-year run that saw the offense rank inside the top 10 three times.
In a statement Sunday night, Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said the Cowboys and Moore reached a “mutual decision to part ways” following the end-of-season review process and additional discussion.
Upon accepting Dallas’ head-coaching job in 2020, McCarthy felt it was important to keep Moore in place as a benefit to Dak Prescott, since Moore had just completed his first season as the team’s offensive coordinator, one in which the Cowboys boasted the top-ranked offense in terms of yards per game; Prescott also threw for 4,902 yards in 2019.
It is possible that McCarthy will take over playcalling responsibilities, but no decisions have been made, sources told ESPN.
With Prescott coming back from a dislocated and fractured right ankle in 2020, the Cowboys had the top-ranked offense in yards and points per game in 2021. In 2022, the Cowboys ranked fourth in points per game and 11th in yards despite Prescott missing five games with a fractured thumb.
“I want to thank Kellen for his deep commitment, hard work and dedication that were a core part of his time with the Cowboys,” McCarthy’s statement read. “The production of our offense and his mentorship of Dak were at the center of Kellen’s impact, and we are grateful for his tenure and leadership.”
The last Cowboys coach to call plays was Jason Garrett in 2012. Following that season, owner and general manager Jerry Jones wanted Garrett to give up those duties and focus on the full team. Bill Callahan called plays in 2013, followed by Scott Linehan from 2014 to 2018, before Moore took over.
Last week Moore, who had one year left on his contract, interviewed for the Carolina Panthers head-coaching vacancy that eventually went to Frank Reich. A source said the Los Angeles Chargers recently requested permission to speak to Moore about their offensive coordinator opening.
Last year, Moore was a finalist for the Miami Dolphins job that went to Mike McDaniel. In 2020, Moore pulled himself out of the running for the job at Boise State, his alma mater.
Cowboys quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier, whose contract is up, will also not return.
“Doug is the consummate professional and brought a level of football insight, enthusiasm and focus to work every day that helped everyone he worked with during his time here with the Cowboys perform at a higher level,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy served as the Packers’ playcaller for most of his 13-year tenure in Green Bay. He gave up those duties for a spell in 2015, but resumed calling plays and vowed to do so for the rest of his time as the Packers’ coach, making his decision to keep Moore as the playcaller in 2020 a surprising one.
In Green Bay, McCarthy coached Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, with whom interceptions rarely were an issue. After having 29 passes intercepted in 2005, Favre cut his interceptions back to 18 and 15 in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Rodgers became the starter in 2008 and never had more than 13 in a season, topping double digits just twice (2008, 2010).
Prescott tied for the NFL lead in interceptions in 2022 with 15, despite missing the five games. However, just one season earlier, he established a team record with 37 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions.
Brian Schottenheimer, who served as a Dallas consultant in 2022, could be a coordinator candidate.
After the Cowboys’ divisional round loss to the San Francisco 49ers, McCarthy informed six coaches they would not be back: assistant head coach Rob Davis, senior defensive assistant George Edwards, running backs coach Skip Peete, offensive line coach Joe Philbin, quality control coach Kyle Valero and assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett.
The Cowboys were able to keep defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who removed his name from head-coaching consideration elsewhere.