Last Monday night, I had the good fortune of being invited by Brad Sham to sit in with him and DeMarco Murray on The Cowboys Hour radio show from the Gaylord Texan Hotel. Murray has always been a quiet guy to me, and on that night he didn't say very much. But you could see in his body language that he was hurting from the game played the previous day against the Chiefs. [embedded_ad]
Murray wasn't physically hurting, but you could tell that the problems that the offense had that day running the ball were weighing on him. As I prepared to get ready for this matchup against the Rams, the opportunity to sit with Murray had me thinking that he was going to play this game with a huge chip on his shoulder. If Murray was going to have to carry this team running the ball, he was going to do it. There was no doubt about it to me.
After studying the Kansas City game, I just felt that head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan would have to become more creative in the way they set up plays in the running game. It was not that I was against the zone scheme, but to just try and stretch the defense and make a cut was not going to help this offense consistently rush the ball.
The game plan from Garrett and Callahan against the Rams was outstanding from the opening snap, and the execution was just as flawless. Murray ran with a purpose, but in front of him, his teammates gave him room to operate. The offensive line and tight ends were able to get their hats on hats this week, whereas last week those same blocks resulted in a defender standing in the hole or running Murray down from the backside.
Callahan called the type of game that played to the strength of his blockers. There were more creative runs. He ran some traps and draws to take advantage of the Rams' aggressive front four. He put his offensive linemen and tight ends in position to have success on their blocks. He kept his offense in favorable down-and-distance situations, which led to a better mix of plays. He took advantage of all his weapons, keeping the Rams off balance on defense throughout the game.
I will always believe that the strength of this Cowboys offense is throwing the ball to Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten, but running the football gives them the balance Jason Garrett strives for. As we observed today, the mix of run and pass is clearly the team's best opportunity for success. How they execute in those areas will always tell the story, as it did on this Sunday afternoon against the Rams.