Kellen Moore, Andy Dalton closing out Cowboys' season with résumé builders

FRISCO, Texas -- Kellen Moore and Andy Dalton first shared a football field in 2008. For the past seven months, they have shared a sideline with the Dallas Cowboys. And since October, they have shared a responsibility as offensive coordinator and quarterback.

Now, in some ways, they have a shared future.

Moore is a candidate to be the head coach at Boise State, his alma mater, and might have other opportunities, since his contract with Dallas expires after this season. Dalton, who went to TCU, has a chance to earn $1 million from the Cowboys if a win on Sunday at the New York Giants (1 p.m. ET, Fox) leads to a playoff spot -- and could make more money as a starter for another NFL team in 2021.

Moore's future could be decided in days or weeks, depending on how fast or slow the process takes and whether he wants to be in college football over pro football. Dalton's future won't play out until March, when NFL free agency begins.

But how the Cowboys have closed the season has been a résumé enhancer for both coordinator and quarterback, especially considering last week's home win against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Cowboys racked up 513 total yards of offense versus Philly, eclipsing 500 yards for the fourth time this season, tying for the most in team history with the 1978, 1966 and 2019 offenses. (By the way, Moore was the Dallas coordinator in 2019, as well.)

Dallas also had three pass plays of more than 50 yards, the most by a team in the NFL this season.

Dalton threw for 377 yards, the fifth most he has had in a game. He recorded the 26th three-touchdown game of his 10-year career. His 12.6 yards per attempt was the second-highest total he has had in a game in his career.

The offensive production has come at a good time for the Cowboys' playoff hopes, but it also has been about Moore and Dalton being on task together.

"Kellen and Andy have done a really good job of being on the same page," Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said. "You can take that to Kellen's playcalling. Just the fact that he has had to get comfortable with all the changes and manage the different matchups we have had week in and week out. There is no question they working really well together and are in a groove right now."

Back in 2008, Boise State and TCU were trying to poke their way into the heavyweights of college football like a dog scratching at the back door. The uninvited guests met in the Poinsettia Bowl, with TCU ending Boise State's undefeated season, 17-16. A year later, both schools played in the Fiesta Bowl, with Moore's Broncos beating Dalton's Horn Frogs, 17-10, to finish unbeaten and hand TCU its only loss.

Moore and Dalton still reminisce about those games.

"TCU was always a battle. They were good. Andy obviously did a phenomenal job there," Moore said. "It's fun to talk about. It's crazy to me that it's over 10 years ago, it's basically 10 years ago now. Things go by fast."

Not that Moore is old at 32.

"I am only older by a year," Dalton, 33, said. "But it's been a lot of fun. We both can go back and talk about a lot of things we both have experienced from college to the NFL. We are kind of on the same timeline of our careers. Obviously, he is in the coaching world now, and I am still playing. It's been fun working with a guy my age or just a little younger."

The NFL has a strange relationship with the calendar. As a coach, Moore skews on the younger side. As a player, Dalton is closing in on the end of his career; but his recent stretch of wins and improved play could have a team wondering if he has enough good years left to win with him or at least help mentor a young quarterback.

The Cowboys would like Dalton to return, but as a backup again to Dak Prescott, who is looking at another franchise tag if he and the team can't reach an agreement on a long-term deal.

"There is a lot to be determined in the future. That is not my focus right now," Dalton said. "... I am trying to do everything I can to try to help this team win right now. We will see what happens in the future. I have enjoyed my time here. I've loved being in Dallas. But there is still a lot to happen once we get to the offseason."

After losing Prescott to a right ankle injury, things did not go smoothly for Moore's offense. In the first four games without Prescott, the Cowboys scored two touchdowns and lost four games while starting three different quarterbacks in Dalton, Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert.

Moore also has had to deal with a makeshift offensive line for almost the entire season because of injuries. Yet in the past three games, the Cowboys' offense has contributed 94 of the Cowboys' 108 points.

Moore said he is most proud of how the offense continues to buy in.

"Sometimes, you got to play the game maybe a different fashion than you'd like, but I think everyone kind of came in with the right approach," Moore said. "Whatever the game plan is each and every week, whatever we feel like gives us the best opportunity, let's be all-in, let's go for it. ... We've found something obviously these last few weeks, really, once the continuity started developing, that certainly gave us a little bit of an ability to start building on some stuff, and I think we're in a good place right now."