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Mailbag: Can The Cowboys Succeed Without Running?



I hear many people complaining that we should run to open up the pass. However, upon further review, I see teams (San Diego, Denver and New Orleans) who are very successful without it. What do you think?

David: I don't want to knock the Cowboys' offensive line, because I think they have played well to this point in the season. But one of the best benefits of a healthy run game is to keep opposing defenses from teeing off on the quarterback. Rivers, Manning and Brees are among the best in the game at getting the ball released quickly – that's why they maintain low sack numbers despite constantly changing offensive lines. I don't know if I can say the same for Romo, so I'm fine with the Cowboys trying to establish a presence on the ground.

Rowan: You're referring the three best passing attacks in the league right now. There are a few elite offensive teams who can survive without a running attack if need be. Right now, the Cowboys aren't proficient enough through the air to be one of those teams. They have, however, been rather successful on the ground, and much more so than in recent years. I think that's something they need to stick with, but when they do go to the air game, they may want to stretch the field a bit more with Dez Bryant.


Much is being said that we have to run the ball to slow Peyton down. Why not go a different route? Spread Denver's defense out in a 5 wide and make them stop us? Peyton is going to score either way.


David: Assuming Miles Austin doesn't play, which seems like a decent bet considering he has not practiced yet this week, do the Cowboys have five receiving weapons you trust to scare the Broncos? Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are givens. Throw in Terrance Williams, who has not looked overly impressive this season, and Dwayne Harris, who may still be bothered by his hip pointer from the Rams game. Round it out with Cole Beasley. It doesn't have the same ring to it as Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas. Also, I wouldn't exactly confuse DeMarco Murray for Adrian Peterson, but Murray is still averaging five yards per carry this year. It opens up space for everyone else when the defense has to account for his ability to run.

Rowan: Peyton may be able to score either way, but I don't think just going spread the whole game is the answer. They've been able to run the ball well recently. Why not stick with that a little more? The Broncos haven't had to play in many tight games recently. Take the shots downfield when they're presented, but don't completely abandon the run. The Cowboys simply don't have the passing game of the Broncos. They do, however, have an elite receiver that can compare with any one of the Denver receivers. Get him the rock and see what happens, but don't just forget about DeMarco Murray through the course of the game.

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