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Stop The Run, Big Boys

a five-man defensive front. 

"We didn't play the run well enough," Parcells said. "Not the worst I've seen. But the defensive ends got blocked more than I'd like." 

Now the Cowboys have been rotating their defensive front, switching off between Glover, Ellis and Kenyon Coleman to Jason Ferguson, Chris Canty and Marcus Spears - a much beefier group, but also much younger since two of the three are rookies. 

But on Sunday, with Jordan mashing them - "They had a great game plan for us, and Jordan was running with purpose," Glover said - the Cowboys did try to get more heft on the defensive line by basically replacing Ellis with Canty on the base defense for the second half. 

That didn't help so much, although Canty did record a career-high six tackles. Jordan still gained 78 of his 126 yards in the second half, and none more important than the 17 yards he totaled on the possession leading to Oakland's 43-yard field goal for a 19-13 lead and then the 12 on the final possession to allow the Raiders to run out the clock. 

Then also add in the fact the Cowboys were so Randy Moss conscious, playing a real two-deep zone, that the safeties rarely were involved in run defense. 

"I will forever look at (a deep zone), as a team saying we can't run the ball," said Jordan, who had gained all of 19 yards on 16 carries the previous week against Philly. "I encourage defenses to play that way because if you play two deep against us, we are capable of running the ball. That was evident today."  

That it was. But it was also evident the Cowboys had problems with a power running game, and so much so they did slip another defensive tackle into the game to form a four-man line from time to time, but mostly when the Raiders went with two tight ends, a fullback and one receiver. 

It's only four games, I know, but it's worthy of keeping an eye on if this should happen again. 

Because if you can't stop the run, you can't win football games. And I don't care if you are in a 3-4, 4-3, 46 or a 52. You got to stop the run, and right now, after four games, the Cowboys are giving up 115 yards rushing a game, which gets them the league's 24th spot going into the Monday night game. 

Just for kicks, look at the defensive rankings. Of the top five teams against the run, four have winning records, two are undefeated (Tampa Bay and Washington) and the five team's combined record is 13-4. Coincidence? 

Me thinks not. 

Plus, in the last two games the Cowboys have given up 253 yards rushing, 124 to San Francisco and Sunday's 129 to Oakland. And while Jordan notched the first 100-yard performance this year, just know that San Francisco's combination of Kevan Barlow and Frank Gore - Gor-Low - combined for 107 yards on 19 carries. 

Not sure that's a trend just yet. But you're darn tootin' it's a worry, and a serious threat to the Cowboys' defensive manhood.     


!   Hey, you know that fourth-down play the Cowboys were claiming tight end Jason Witten was wide open on in the end zone on the opposite side of where Drew Bledsoe was looking? Nuh-uh. He was open wide left at the three, but there were still two Oakland defenders at the goal line. It wasn't the walk-in touchdown Parcells made everyone believe after the game, and he admitted so after watching tape on Monday. 
!   Also, after watching tape, it was Flozell Adams missing blocks on the third-and-one play at the Oakland 12 in the third quarter and the second-and-two at the Oakland three that final drive. Larry Allen can take the blame for the missed third-and-two at the Oakland 12 in the second. 
!   And since we're discussing running the ball, having the 17th-ranked rushing offense isn't any badge of honor, either. Of the top 16 rushers in the NFC, Julius Jones might rank fourth with 335 yards, but he has the

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