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Mailbag: More Blocking Help For Chaz Green? Addressing The Running Game?
After Chaz Green gave up his first couple sacks, why not give him more help (TE, RB to his side)? Stubbornness on the part of the coaches, or a lack of viable options?
Nick: They did give him some help but it wasn’t enough, obviously. What I would’ve liked to see more of was running the ball at his side. If Clayborn was going to play in such a wide stance, that’s when you run the ball that way and gash them because all he’s trying to do is get up the field. There were a lot of adjustments the coaching staff seemingly could’ve made here.
Rob: Watching the game back, Green did get some chip help. Bryan Broaddus counted eight plays for Green and two for Byron Bell. Was it often enough? Given the results, you can certainly argue not. But I doubt coaches ever enter the game expecting one player on the opposing defense to rack up six sacks. (No opponent had ever gotten five against a Cowboys team, ever.) At some point, you’ve got to expect your personnel to get their individual jobs done and let the offense function. That didn’t happen enough Sunday, and it wasn’t just at left tackle.
What did the coaches see or what was behind their decision to abandon the running game against the Falcons? Fifteen rushes by RBs is terrible for a team with our RBs and O-Line. Can someone please tell me how a 1,000-yard rusher, Darren McFadden, is relegated to one carry?
Nick: I don’t understand the McFadden thing at all. He was kept here for this very reason. And while I’m sure Rod Smith has a lot of upside, I’m not really sure why he has jumped McFadden in the rotation. But I think you’re also forgetting that there’s a reason for the 15 attempts. The running game wasn’t very good when it had chances to run. In the first half, the Cowboys were averaging less than 1 yard on first-down runs. It got better in the second half thanks to that 20-yard run by Morris. But the drives were being stalled in the first half because of their lack of running early, causing them to have third-and-longs and obviously, the blocking wasn’t good enough in those passing situations.
Rob: The offense did try for some semblance of balance in the first half: 15 pass attempts to 11 rushes, though 4 of them were mostly Dak scrambling. The Falcons loaded up to stop the run and it worked. The run game finally got rolling on the first drive of the second half, but here were two back-breakers: Dak got sacked for a 7-yard loss in the red zone and Mike Nugent missed a 38-yard field goal that would’ve cut the lead to 17-10. Atlanta scored on the next drive to make it 24-7. At that point, the run game had to go out the window. Regarding McFadden, the only explanation is that he’s clearly viewed as the third running back at this point. Morris and Smith were active over him in the first eight games. Read