2. Staying on the offensive line: will they be able to open more holes for the RBs than last year?
We keep hearing how deep the Cowboys are at the RB position, but every RB (with the possible exception of Barry Sanders) needs the assistance of an effective offensive line.
2b. How significantly will the philosophy of the running game change?
Historically the Boys have utilized a power-running offense. They had behemoth lineman who would (were supposed to) drive defenders off the line of scrimmage. My intuition says that Garrett is smart enough to play to the strengths of his players. There is no denying that the current crop of lineman are smaller, faster, and more athletic than in years past ( I read somewhere that the average weight last year was around 350 lbs/player, and this year it is closer to 315 lbs). To me, this suggests more sweeps, more pulls, more traps, and more screens (I know screens are technically passes, but I think it makes more sense to include them as part of the running game.) The real issue is not whether they try these kinds of runs requiring more agile lineman, but whether these plays allow Felix to bust big runs.
2c. How will Garrett divvy up the carries by the RBs? Will they even dress all 4 backs?
Clearly Jones will be the lead horse, but I would be surprised if he gets more than 16 or 17 touches. To me, one of the most interesting things to watch will be who comes in on 3rd downs: do they trust Murray’s knowledge of the offense enough to let him protect Romo on 3rd downs, or will they stick with Choice? ( I had intended to rant about my man TC getting more carries, but Seth Jones has already thoroughly assessed Choice’s role on the team; be sure to check out his Love/Hate article on Choice).