ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 19: Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to run with the ball upfield against the St. Louis Rams during their NFL game at Edward Jones Dome on October 19, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Cowboys 34-14. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
It didn't take long for the much justified second-guessing to begin.
Sunday saw a 17-7 Cowboys loss to Green Bay that included (and was probably (heavily) influenced by) 11 runs by the Dallas Cowboys once-vaunted three-headed rushing attack. That is: Five carries for Marion Barber (four in the first quarter) and three each by Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.
Monday saw Dom Capers, Packers' defensive coordinator saying basically that the lack of a running game on the part of Dallas afforded his pass rush carte blanche on Tony Romo's blindside; and, of course, Wade Phillips calling for a more balanced offense.
Yes, abandoning the run is a bad thing, and on Tuesday, Cowboys' tight end Jason Witten--polite as he may be--added his name to the list of corroborators of the obvious. Of course, Witten took some responsibility off the likely sloping shoulders of Jason Garrett, saying that the team had to block better. But the message was clear, as he spoke to ESPNDallas at a Thanksgiving benefit.
"I think [time of possession]’s an area where you look at and say that running the ball is a big part of that," Witten said. "We’re in a unique situation with our line, such a powerful line, and we have so many backs that are creative and unique and you can get the ball to them in a lot of ways.
"That’s just something where we’ve all got to do a better job. We’ve got to block better, keep ourselves in better situations down and distance wise more than anything. Then you just get more plays and more opportunities to do a better job in the running game."
Witten believes, as do many around the Metroplex, that Dallas would do well to return to their off-season maxim of controlling the ball with three adept runners and a massive offensive line.
"Early in the year, it was kind of establishing the brand," Witten said. "Something we talked about [was] being a team that imposes their will with three good backs and a strong line. We haven't done a good job with that."