Can the OL keep the RB’s from being tackled in the backfield?
Seth Jones astutely pointed out in his weekly article that the Cowboys couldn’t run the ball even if they had Mike Alstott and Earl Campbell in the backfield. His point is a very good one: the running problems can not be blamed on the backs, the responsibility falls squarely on the OL. Check out the article in its entirety for a well reasoned assessment of this season.
Last season we had a bunch of mammoth lineman that were too slow and immobile to pass block against speed rushers. As a result, Romo was constantly on the run, and he eventually missed most of the season due to a broken collarbone. In an attempt to fix that problem, the line was overhauled and smaller more agile lineman replaced the behemoths. Now we have a OL that is doing fairly well in pass protection, but lacks the strength to effectively pound the rock. I have to admit, I am still fairly puzzled at their ability to maintain pass protection but their complete inability to open holes in the running game. The intricacies of how an OL operates are not easily understood (at least by me). If anyone could shed some light on this question in the comments section, I would be grateful for your opinions.
I will be watching to see if the combination of Montrae Holland and the aforementioned Fiammetta can help the backs average more than the 3.4 yards a carry that they are currently averaging. I am not expecting any miracles, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect improvement. The Rams have a porous run defense, so if there is any time to get started on a roll, it is this week.
I will also be watching to see if Holland needs to taken out of the game because of being out of shape. I will be surprised if we don’t see Kowalski or the newly signed Dan Loper for at least a series or two.