Kellen Moore & Drew Brees Share Identical Skill Sets

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Kellen Moore continues to take the second team reps over the veteran Matt Cassel and rightfully so. Hopefully the Jones’ are seeing the same things my two most trusted analysts and Scott Linehan do.

Kellen Moore, Tony Romo, Brandon Weeden
Mandatory Image Credit: dallascowboys.com

If there are two guys I have learned to trust when it comes to doing scouting reports on players, it’s our own Al Beam and my buddy Bryan Broaddus. There are those who are journalists and there are those who take the time to study the tape. I prefer the latter. I have learned to trust my eyes over the years, but I have also learned to trust theirs.

Kellen Moore was one of my “The Guys No One Is Talking About” entering the 2012 NFL draft. My “Pet Cat” so to speak. Any time the name Drew Brees comes up, the word elite is somewhere in the conversation. When the name Kellen Moore comes up, he’s too small, he doesn’t have enough arm strength, he’s not athletic enough. What if I told you that not only his size, arm strength and athletic ability are pretty much identical to Brees, but they share the same skill set? The same traits that have ensured Drew Brees a place in Canton. Those are the traits not only I  have seen in Moore, but the two analyists I trust the most. I included their reports.

drew brees & kellen moore almost identical Drew Brees, QB

College: Purdue

Team:  San Diego Chargers/New Orleans Saints

Height|Weight: 6-0  209

Experience: 15th season

Draft: 2001 Round 2, pick 32

Bryan Broaddus:

When it comes to physical and mental toughness, there are few quarterbacks that match what you see in Drew Brees. His work ethic and passion make up for the physical limitations that he has for the quarterback position. His arm strength and talent are not ideal, but he manages to make it work within the scheme the Saints play.

When watching Brees play, I am always fascinated by the way that he works the pocket to make throws. Because of his lack of height, he has to find ways to move around to find throwing lanes to deliver the ball. Brees is never going to sit right in the middle of the pocket, and that makes him difficult to defend.

What also makes him difficult to defend is his fantastic accuracy. It does not matter at which level he throws the ball – he is going to give his receiver a chance. It is rare that you see him make the receiver work for the ball. Brees also plays with outstanding poise and a general awareness of what is going on around him. The tougher the situation – the better he plays. He shows clutch production and is a playmaker in every sense of the word.

kellen mooreKellen Moore, QB

College: Boise State

Team: Detroit Lions/Dallas Cowboys

Height|Weight: 6-0   197

Experience: 4th season

Draft: 2012 undrafted free agent

Bryan Broaddus:

Scouting Report: Toughness, Accuracy Make Kellen Moore An Intriguing QB

Where scouts tend to get in trouble is that they look for reasons to poke holes in a player instead of trying to find reasons why, with certain skillsets, he can have success. Coming out of Boise State, Kellen Moore was a four-year starter on a college team that won 50 games during his career. When it came time for the draft, though, no NFL team turned in a card for him. Names like Ryan Lindley, B.J. Coleman and Chandler Harnish were all called on that weekend in 2012.

  • There is nothing physically impressive about Kellen Moore until you put on his tape. His toughness is off the charts. Not one time did I see him flinch while standing in the pocket. There were several plays where his protection was less than perfect and he took some big time hits.

  • Moore doesn’t have big-time arm strength or talent, but where he makes up for that is how accurate he is. He’s a left-handed passer that will deliver the ball at all angles. He will drop down to work the ball underneath rushers, and he will slide in the pocket – but he doesn’t have to do it like Drew Brees to find throwing lanes. He keeps his eyes down the field to find receivers. The ball appeared to have more pace to it when he could step and throw to his left — was a little wide of the target to his right.

  • In the games I watched, he worked from under center and in the shotgun. He doesn’t have the quickest of feet in his drop. He takes small steps and it causes him not to cover as much ground. He seemed much better when he could read the defense, take the snap and operate from the gun. As I mentioned, his athleticism isn’t great, but he can throw the ball on the move when they run boots or waggles to the edge. That said, I really like him more from the pocket.

  • The longest ball I saw him throw was 50 yards, and he dropped it right into the receiver’s hands. I thought that I would see more of his passes defensed due to the lack of zip on the ball, but there was only one time where it was a contested ball and it was incomplete. I only observed one interception and that was against the Jets where he tried to float the ball in the red zone and his receiver never tried to go for it.

In studying Kellen Moore, I found more traits to like about him than dislike, so I can understand why this coaching staff and scouting department are willing to give him a chance if needed.

When I take in to consideration that Bryan not only spent over a decade as a real NFL scout, but was responsible for bringing Brett Favre to the Green Bay Packers, I think we can put a little stock in to his ability to evaluate the QB position. If you look at the two reports as a whole, you will see that he pointed out the exact same skill-sets. Mental and physical toughness, accuracy, poise, and the way they move in the pocket makes them tough to defend. Above and beyond that, both QBs have excellent work ethic and a unique ability to read and pick apart defenses.

Kellen Moore & Matt Cassel copy
Mandatory Image Credit: dallasnews.com

Al Beam:

Film Study:

  • Kellen Moore doesn’t possess the ideal height and length, he isn’t going to impress you in a track meet either. However, he will blow your mind with the things most don’t see. His awareness, instincts, poise, (ice for blood under pressure), anticipation and accuracy. Clutch: Plays at an elite level in the 2 minute offense… Above and beyond that, his genius football IQ. You can’t coach intelligence and the ability to process information quickly, read a defense and counter to dissect it. Much like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Tony Romo, he is a coach on the field. The main reason so many QBs with the perfect intangibles fail is because they lack the mental part of the game. The QB has to be the smartest player on the field as well as be mentally tough… I contend that Moore is among the smartest in the entire NFL.

  • Kellen Moore can play under center or out of the shotgun… Has good footwork and knows how to move around in the pocket to extend plays… Does a nice job of seeing the rush and gets out of the tackle box…. Can throw on the run… Elite diagnostic skills and awareness…. Nice throwing motion….. Elite anticipation/accuracy… Elite instincts… Makes good decisions and protects the rock… Is a natural leader and maintains full control of his offense… Has the ability to be effective on the bootleg… Not only a solid game manager, but knows how to win… He wont blow your mind with elite arm strength, but he has more than enough to win at the NFL level.

marty shottenheimerAs you can see, both Al and Bryan touched on the same traits we see in Drew Brees. There are similarities in their careers as well. No one thought Drew Brees was good enough to draft in the first round. However, Marty Shottenheimer is an old school coach like Bill Parcells and was also very good at evaluating talent. He wanted Drew Brees. In fact, there was a lot of tension between him and the Chargers GM who was insistent upon drafting a bigger, more athletic QB with the much coveted arm strength. In fact, many believe this conflict led to the firing of Shottenheimer, despite the fact he led  the Chargers to a 12-4 season. As a result of the Chargers acquiring Phillip Rivers, drew Brees was traded to the Saints. It wasn’t until he saw a change of culture that his career began to take off. Sean Payton, even though Tony Romo was his first choice, saw the same things Shottenheimer did in Drew Brees despite his lack of size, arm strength and athletic ability. Boy did that pay off.

Drew Brees not only went on to be a First Team All-Pro that same year, but the NFL Alumni QB of the year, the Saints MVP, Kansas City Committee Of 101 NFC offensive player of the year, Fed Ex Air Player Of The Year, and the Walter Payton Man Of The Year. If that’s not enough for you, he has attended 8 Pro Bowls in a Saints uniform, led them to a win in Super Bowl XLVI and is the all time leader in completion percentage. This only scratches the surface of the records Drew Brees holds in the NFL. Not bad for a guy who was too small, not athletic enough and didn’t have enough arm strength.

Kellen Moore found himself in a similar situation in Detroit as Brees did in San Diego. Despite being undrafted, the Lions opted to keep him on the 53 man roster. He was stuck behind franchise QB Matthew Stafford and the veteran backup, Shaun Hill. Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan had the same job in Detroit at that time. He was so impressed with Moore that he told the media he was the smartest QB he had ever been around. I am pretty sure that didn’t sit to well with the powers that be. He had just taken a shot at their poster boy.

However, Moore was about to unseat Shaun Hill as the #2 QB in Detroit when there was a coaching change. It no longer mattered how much Linehan liked Kellen Moore. The new coach wanted his guy who has the same coveted intangibles Rivers did (6′-5″ 215 lbs) when he unseated Drew Brees. Despite many analysts feeling Kellen Moore was going to win the #2 spot in Detroit, they elected to waive Moore and give that job to Dan Orlovsky. The Cowboys in turn signed Kellen Moore. I am pretty sure Scott Linehan had a lot to do with that. At this point, the only difference is: at the time Drew Brees was signed by the Saints, they were desperate for a starting QB and Brees got the nod.

Kellen Moore is in a different situation with All-Pro Tony Romo at the helm. Despite having the choice to resign with the Lions on the practice squad, Moore chose to follow Scott Linehan to Dallas.

By Charean Williams
cjwilliams@star-telegram.com
Kellen Moore could have returned to the Lions after they waived him. Detroit wanted him back on its practice squad. But the Cowboys wanted him, too, and the chance to reunite with Scott Linehan drew the quarterback to Dallas.

“I think certainly it played a role,” Moore said of Linehan being the Cowboys offensive coordinator. “I was fortunate to be a part of a team with him in Detroit for two years. I felt like a change might be good.”

Linehan served as Detroit’s offensive coordinator when Moore signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2012. The former Boise State star spent three seasons on the Lions’ roster, though he never played in a game.

“I think being able to play in preseason games, and even though I wasn’t able to play in regular-season games, I feel like I’ve taken advantage of those three years,” he said.

He seems eager to learn from Tony Romo.

“I always watched him from afar,” Moore said. “…He’s obviously one of the best in this league and has done a tremendous job.”

Read more here:

I can’t think of anyone better to sit behind and prepare to be the starter in Dallas other than Tony Romo. Not only is Tony a Top 5 QB in the NFL, he understands Kellen Moore’s situation better than anyone. He was in his shoes early in his career. He also entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent. You’re entitled to your opinion, but I maintain that Kellen Moore should be the future behind Tony Romo. I believe Scott Linehan does too. He is standing behind his guy, the same way Shottenheimer did with Brees.

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  • lionone1

    Very well written Cas. What a lot of people dont see in Moore is why he’s been a successful QB. Where he makes up for his weakness is his preparation and high level football iq.

    • Thank You. I have been preaching about how smart he is for years. He can read a defense and make the calls at the line to beat it with the best of them.

      • Ronald Dulaney

        Great article, Cowgirlcas22.
        I’ve been a Kellen Moore fan since he beat my Oregon Ducks( who won the PAC 10 that year!) In only his second game as a redshirt freshman!
        I’m sure you know it but at their respective combines, Kellen and Drew Brees threw at the same velocity 52mph.
        I’m sure all Kellen’s numerous fans have now abandoned the Lions to follow the Cowboys, like me.
        HEAL, TONY! GO WEEDEN & KELLEN!
        Best year yet, Cowboys!

  • BigDIndiana

    Somebody is getting to be a good writer. His biggest problem is he throws with the wrong hand

    • Thank You. That could be an advantage. Lefties boot left and that is the Cowboys strongest side of the line. Too many times when the pocket collapses and Tony tries to boot right, he runs in to a DE or OLB that Free couldn’t contain.

      • BigDIndiana

        I was just being goofy but that could be good. the only downside is Free has his blind side instead of TSmith. Free hasn’t been really bad though. I hope the kid gets to play at some point.

        • I think he will. JG is about intelligence coming from princeton. That is one thing Moore is loaded with. JG likes guys that put in the work to prepare. Kellen is always prepared. The only obstacle could be Jerry’s ego with weeden

  • Chris

    I have a feeling that Matt Cassell will take over before the end of the New Orleans game, start against the Pats but Moore will finish that game and heading into week 6 there will be talk of who’s going to be the starter till Romo gets back…

    • Not if Linehan has anything to say about it.

      • Chris

        No doubt about it it should be Linehans call and this will show us if the Jones’s are committing to winning this season but we all know how they’ve been before. They just traded for Cassell, they’re going to want to see him run the team if Weeden can’t (which he can’t… neither of them can). I have more faith in Moore, he has more upside and potential than both of them but this is Jerry’s team we’re talking about… Hoping he can set his ego aside and let the coaches do their job.

  • roidaho

    I’m a BSU homer, but I think he can make it at this level. I’ll also be the first to say it’s time to coach if he can’t. Kellen is more than football, he’s the pro athlete it’s ok for your kids to want to be. You will NEVER have off field issues with KM.
    Out of curiosity, how many Cowboys fans know that Kellen and Linahans relationship goes way beyond Detroit? Scotts nephew, Gabe, was one of Kellens receiving targets at BSU for quit awhile.

    • Thank you for sharing. I am not only a huge Cowboys fan, I am a BSU fan as well. I never knew about linehans nephew. Is his last name Linehan?

  • Johnathan Nguyen

    Thanks Cas for saying the things about Kellen that I could not intelligently nor have the expertise to point out when defending why I love Kellen Moore! I only know he’s special as a regular fan watching his games over the years. The kid truly a surgeon on the field and a stone cold killer to defenses he faced. I would love to see him take over when Tony can’t play any more for sure. Well done buddy!

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