More Run, Less Gun For ‘Boys In '09

A shift in offensive mindset signals a new, hopeful reliance on Dallas' three-pronged running attack

If Dallas has any hope of traversing the month of December without the woes that have characterized that month so definitively of late, it will rely (very) heavily on the running game. This is not necessarily an innovative thought.
A strong running game is a constant for Super Bowl champions.
It, along with defense can get you a long way in the NFL; so much so, in fact, that a strong passing game is strictly optional. This is why Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer have Super Bowl rings.
It is also why “winning the big game” is a sometimes flawed indicator of the merits of a given quarterback.
Luckily for Dallas, and despite ill-founded arguments otherwise, the Cowboys have a gifted passer under center, effectively putting the kibosh on any worries of this sort.
But the Cowboys have relied too heavily on said gifted passer in recent years. Tony Romo is a natural gunslinger which can be good or bad, depending on the situation.
In the cold of December, balance on offense, a reliance on the run, is absolutely crucial. Controlling the clock, abandoning the need for a home run—these are things that must happen down the stretch, and the exact opposite of what has happened, in recent years in Dallas.
The supposed predictability of Dallas’ offense is compounded by the fact that the team has abandoned the run, to their own detriment of course, in countless instances down the stretch in the past few years.
What follows is an ugly parade of turnovers and three-and-outs.
This year though, Dallas’ offensive mindset seems to be undergoing a palpable shift in the right direction.
Jason Garrett has three proven running backs at his disposal, compared to one at this time last year. Felix Jones and, later, Tashard Choice came as revelations in 2008, Choice being, arguably, the best player on Dallas’ offense down the stretch.
This development may in fact be the most hopeful aspect of that otherwise ugly season.
And Garrett seems primed to use this three-headed running-monster in 2009. This philosophical shift, if it indeed translates to the field, will turn Dallas’ offense from an ill-founded hit or miss attack into a more easily controllable, consistent and, at times no doubt, kind of boring force to be reckoned with.
Considering that a good running game is often touted as a ‘quarterback’s best friend,’ this is Romo-friendly at its ambiguously-defined best.
It is also what will give Dallas a chance to win some games in December and, more importantly than that, perhaps, January and February as well.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us