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Mailbag: Why Can't The Cowboys Commit To The Run?



Why do the Cowboys always abandon the run? DeMarco Murray looks healthy, and he got fewer than 10 carries in the game. They stopped trying to run before they could even establish a run game.

Nick: Well there's always going to be that debate. Did they abandon the run or could they simply not run the ball and so they scrapped it? I think it's somewhere in the middle. This team hasn't been able to run it effectively for about two years. I think Brian Waters' injury was bigger than we thought it'd be. All of a sudden Doug Free looked bad? I think Waters has helped him  just by being in the lineup. But yes, there are times the Cowboys don't run it enough. I think this was one of these games.

Rowan: I was all for spreading it out and tossing the ball around, but I'll admit nine runs in a game that was this tight throughout is kind of shocking. More than that, the backs never really had a chance to get going as they took a whole lot of delayed runs in shotgun and were met in the backfield. The backs actually had some success with four runs for 25 yards in the first quarter. Then, we never really saw them again.


David: I don't mind that the Cowboys don't commit to the run in a strict sense. But I do mind that they talk often about balance and controlling the game, and then they throw 51 times compared to nine total runs. Either accept that you can't or don't want to run, or actually make the effort to run. Murray was averaging eight yards per carry, but he disappeared.


What is your grade for this defense? I would grade them with a D -- the only reason it is not an F is because of the turnovers.

Nick: Crazy talk. I think I'd give them a B. First off, they scored a touchdown. Without that, they probably lose. Secondly, they had a big interception by Orlando Scandrick and a fourth-down stop that would've been needed points by the Vikings early in the game. Say what you want about "the Vikings" but the reigning MVP is over there. I don't care what they've done this year, they still have the best running back in the game on their side. I think people are failing to realize what the Cowboys are dealing with on defense. You can't lose the guys they've lost and expect no dropoff. So I think it was a solid day and they made enough plays to win in the end.

Rowan: Overall, or for this game? If it's for this game, there's no way I'm giving a D. Yes, Adrian Peterson went for 140 yards and some poor tackling led to the Kyle Rudolph touchdown. But that was the only touchdown the defense allowed. That group picked off Christian Ponder, sacked him in the end zone and recovered for a touchdown. The Cowboys still have a lot of holes on that side and need to tighten up if they're to compete with some of the better offenses in the league, but my grade at least today for the defense is a B-, not a D. My grade is far worse for the offense than the defense today.

David: Peterson had two runs that really made the Dallas defense look bad, and Rudolph's touchdown catch was the latest example of a tight end exploiting this secondary. I shudder to think what Jimmy Graham might do next week in New Orleans. All of that said, the no-name D-Line came up with two sacks, two strips and a touchdown. That alone is deserving of a better grade than a D or an F.

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