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Dallas Cowboys Don't Need Offensive Balance

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Should the Cowboys pass the ball on every play? I’m only half-joking with that question. Obviously I think Dallas should run the ball in certain situations -- even more so on third down and in short-yardage situations -- but I also believe the offense’s current level of efficiency could be enhanced by literally never running the ball.

    The media -- and I’m assuming that includes me -- absolutely has to stop force-feeding this “commitment to the running game” garbage down fans’ throats. They need to stop with the lines of “Teams win X percent of their games when they run the ball Y times.” Worse, it seems like most really believe that blindly running the ball is a cause of winning.
    It’s not. Balance -- in the traditional sense of equal running and passing -- is not inherently good. It often accompanies wins because good teams run the ball in the second half since they’re already winning. It’s been shown numerous times, by myself and others, that the Cowboys and most NFL teams don’t win by running the ball early. Actually, they’re worse off by “committing to the run.” If you need a refresher, you can read this article. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one.
    Even after the Cowboys’ 51-48 loss to the Broncos last week, I’ve seen numerous articles stating the Cowboys still aren’t committed to the run and need to maintain balance moving forward.
    Let me repeat that. After a game in which Tony Romo posted arguably the best combination of bulk stats and efficiency in the history of the NFL, some think, in spite of all of the evidence, that the Cowboys would be better served handing the ball to DeMarco Murray. Every quarterback who had ever thrown for 500 yards in a game needed at least 45 attempts to do it, until Romo came along and accomplished the feat in just 36 throws. But yeah, let’s run the ball for three yards on first down.
    The Cowboys do indeed need offensive balance, but that doesn’t mean a 50/50 run/pass split. They need to be balanced in how they attack defenses through the air, mixing up downfield throws with quick strikes to all areas of the field. They need to use the pass when they want to get the ball downfield and they need to use the pass as an extension of the run when they want to reduce variance.
    Or maybe they should just give the ball to Murray as much as possible because, hey, they’re undefeated when he sees 20 carries.

    Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.