Throw the word balance out the door. Forget balance. It's not needed anymore, and it really doesn't matter when it comes down to winning games.
If you can run the ball nine times, throw it 51, and still win the game, you don't need a "balanced attack" that football coaches always love to throw out there.
However, in no way do I think the Cowboys should just throw the ball around all day and expect to win games with empty-sets and calling just eight running plays. Yeah, I know the ratio was 51-9, but one of those runs was a quarterback scramble by Tony Romo. We know that wasn't designed that way. And as uncomfortable as he looks running the ball sometimes, I still think it's something he should do more often.
But this counterpoint isn't about Romo running it more. It's about this team committing a little more to the running game. Now, it's not about how much they run, but how they do it.
Why do you have to always bunch this thing up all the time on third-and-1? I just don't understand it, especially when your offensive linemen aren't menacing blow-you-off-the-ball-type players. It's one thing if you can physically dominate the line of scrimmage and so seven, eight, even nine men in the box really doesn't matter when you're talking about getting one or two yards.
But this team isn't that way, especially now with Brian Waters out for the year.
This team needs to spread it out to run. To me, that's something that will get teams to respect the passing game even more.
Think about it: How many throws have we seen when the Cowboys insert Jermey Parnell and Kyle Bosworth, along with two tight ends? It doesn't happen. Nothing screams run more than that alignment. And when they motion Bosworth to shift to one side, that's usually the side they run the ball.
This team needs to build off their own strength and then run the ball from that. Even on fourth-and-inches, why not spread things out? If the defense doesn't respect the outside receivers and continues to bunch it up inside, then make them pay. Romo is a $100 million quarterback and there are plenty of quality receivers that you can trust enough to play pitch-and-catch if no one is on them.
However you do it, this team still needs to run it.
Last week, they were down late in the game and had to go 90 yards. So they can pass all day and drive for the winning score.
Two weeks ago, however, they had to get a first down and couldn't. We remember the games like that against Denver when they were down 15 at the half and played from behind all game. Sure, you can throw yourself back in the game, and it was clear the Broncos couldn't stop it – until the last throw by Romo, of course. [embedded_ad]
But there are going to be games when the Cowboys have to be able to run it – somehow, some way. The weather is about to get colder, especially in places like New York, Chicago and Washington, the Cowboys' final three road games. It won't be easy to just spread it out and chunk the ball around 50 times.
I don't think the Cowboys have to get this to a 50-50 split. They don't need 30 carries and 30 passes. Even a 40-20 deal might work out, depending on the circumstances.
Like I said on the radio show Tuesday, no one ever says "pass" out the clock to finish games. It's typically "run" out the clock, as in run some time off the clock. But it's also about running the ball to do that.
This team has to find a way to run it. It doesn't have to be conventional with a bunch of blockers. But there will be a few more times this year when the Cowboys will face a situation where running is the smart option. They have to show the ability to do it.