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Deep Thoughts: Cowboys Need to Throw Downfield

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Deep Thoughts: Throw Downfield

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You’re going to cringe when I say this, but Jerry Jones should go even more Al Davis.

I’m not suggesting they’re Bob Hayes or the Philadelphia Eagles, but I’d judge the Cowboys’ receiving corps with above-average speed. As in, Miles Austin can get deep. Dez Bryant can get deep. Dwayne Harris can get deep. And we figure Terrance Williams can deep. But, um, none of them ever go deep.

So far this season the Cowboys’ passing game is dink-and-dunk quantity over quality. I just think Tony Romo and the offense would be better served to throw the ball downfield more.

Through two games, Romo leads the NFL in completion percentage at 72.5. But that accuracy and efficiency translates into only the 8th-most yards and merely the 12th-best yards-per-attempt. And of the Top 15 quarterbacks, only the Raiders’ Terrelle Pryor and Panthers’ Cam Newton have fewer completions of 20+ yards than Romo’s five. (Of course, it would help if Bryant wouldn’t drop perfectly placed bombs in the fourth quarter.) Aaron Rodgers has 12. Peyton Manning 11. Matt Schaub 10. Their teams are a combined 5-1. You get the point.

As we noted Tuesday, the Cowboys are struggling to run the ball. And when they desperately needed yards last Sunday in Kansas City – even on third-and-long – Romo seemed a tad panicky and a lot short-sighted. Throwing a 2-yard out pattern to Jason Witten on third-and-9 doesn’t make sense. Neither does only rarely taking a shot deep.

The Cowboys have thrown 91 passes, fourth-most in the NFL. But by my math only nine of those passes have traveled more than 20 yards downfield. Unfortunately this is nothing new. Last season only about 11 percent of Romo's passes were "deep," ranking in the bottom 1/3rd of NFL quarterbacks.

Given the speed of their receivers, the jump-ball ability of Bryant and the Cowboys' clogged running game, that’s a losing formula.

Davis would agree.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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