It probably goes without saying that the Cowboys are going to need to get more from their running game over the next few weeks, but there's always a place for a little statistical backup to make the case even plainer.
Brian Burke at the New York Timesgives us the numbers we're looking for on this front by pointing out the difference in net yards per attempt between Tony Romo and Jon Kitna. Romo has averaged 7.3 yards over his career and his 7.1 YPA this year was fourth in the league. Kitna's career mark is 5.7 YPA, and Burke tells us that such a drop would turn an 11-win team into a six-win team. That makes you wonder if the Cowboys will win another game all year.
There is a caveat to this chilling information about the new inefficiency in the Cowboys passing game. If the Cowboys are able to run the ball more effectively than they have to this point in the season then there's a much better chance that Kitna will be able to make plays down the field in something like the manner we've grown accustomed to seeing in the Romo era.
You could counter that argument by saying that the downturn in the passing game will make it impossible to establish a rushing attack, but we'll hold off on drawing any conclusions until we see the Cowboys actually commit to the ground game. It's a bit disconcerting to see them already writing off Tashard Choice as a contributor, but it's not like we don't all know the guy who really needs to step up and make things happen in the running game.
Felix Jones has been hyped more Justin Bieber, the "Twilight" movies and 3-D technology combined. Yet we're well into his third season and still waiting for the big payoff that makes him a true featured attraction instead of a guy who brings more sizzle than steak to the table. That's always been frustrating, but it's never really been distressing because the Cowboys had so many other offensive options to carry them. Now, though, it's crucial that Jones steps up and not just for the well-being of the Cowboys.
Jones, along with many other players on the roster, needs to look at the next 10 weeks as an audition for a job in 2010. His contract means that he will be here either way, but a new coach and new schemes won't guarantee him the same prominent role in the offense that he enjoys right now. Jones isn't going to get by on potential for much longer and the next coach of the Cowboys isn't going to put his employment on the back of a guy who can't seem to keep moving in the right direction for more than a couple of plays at a time.
And you thought there was no reason to keep paying attention to the Cowboys this season?
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