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Cowboys At The Bye


well-thought-out thesis here, and I can hear your thoughts from this far away: Well, blabber mouth, if you don't try to run you're aren't going to run the ball into the end zone. Am I right?

The Cowboys have run the ball 101 times in four games, an average of right at 25 a game. The league average is 27 runs a game and three rushing touchdowns.

But here is the rub. On those 101 runs, the Cowboys average just 3.4 yards a carry, and it's only that high because of averaging 4.2 this past Sunday. Prior to the Lions game the average was 3.2.

How does that 3.4 stack up? Well, only four teams trail the Cowboys' average per carry. As bad, the Cowboys are far below the league average of 4.2 a carry.

So if you are attempting to run the ball and not getting anywhere fast - and let's see, on the second possession of the 34-30 loss to Detroit, the Cowboys ran the ball on three of four plays from the Detroit 10, the last on fourth-and-goal from the one, and finished at the one with no points, ending up losing by four, as we well know - why would you continue to run the ball?

Oh, and that one rushing touchdown the Cowboys do have? Came from one yard out. Hey, there is nothing wrong with running one in from like, maybe 10 yards out, or 16. How 'bout 20? Lots of teams do that. Last year the longest run from scrimmage was Miles Austin's 60-yard end around. Next, Felix Jones' 34-yarder. Next, uh, that 29-yard touchdown jaunt by Kitna, of all people.

Pretty sure Tony Dorsett's club-record 99-yard touchdown run is pretty safe for the time being.

But go ahead if you must, blame it all on Romo.

Or blame Garrett because he calls too many pass plays. Bet he learned at Princeton it's not wise to bang your head against a wall if the wall is not moving.

And please ... please ... can we stop this offensive imbalance between run and pass every time the Cowboys lose? Didn't hear any complaints when the Cowboys threw the ball 43 times and ran just 22 in the victory over San Francisco. Not a peep after 38 passes and 28 runs in the victory over Washington. What? Where were ya? But lose and throw the ball 47 times vs. 27 runs, and you'd think the guy committed treason.

This is 2011, not 1971.

Think anyone in Green Bay is worried over the Packers throwing the ball 142 times and only running 105 times in four games since they won 'em all? Or Detroit's 162 passes to 101 runs? Thought we got that all squared away on that the night of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium.

To me there were two concerns when this season began. One, how quickly would the defense adapt to Rob Ryan's new system? And that adaption seems to be coming along just fine heading into the bye. Then two, how quickly would an offensive line with three new starters, totaling all of one NFL start to their credit, and another having started just one full season, develop some cohesion? That, well, needless to say, is still a work in progress.

But as a friend who covered the Cowboys starting back in 1962 until finally retiring about five years ago told me this week, "Finally, I like what I see. Someone is doing some good coaching out there."

Imagine that, someone not dogging the 2-2 Cowboys, and thoroughly understanding the heavy burden on Romo's shoulders. Because as you can see already, again, if he's not throwing touchdown passes, the Cowboys are rarely scoring touchdowns. There's only so many times you can kick six field goals to win a game.

The Cowboys need to give the guy a hand - stop being so Romo-dependent - or settle for the hand that's dealt them. Because unlike poker, they don't allow you to discard bad plays in football.

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