Whose To Blame For Dallas Running Woes

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Sep 15, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett walks to midfield after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 15, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett walks to midfield after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After my study, I noticed some peculiar trends. First, Dallas did not have a single rushing attempt on 3rd down. This is alarming because it shows a lack in trust in the run game on the money plays. They also did not have a rush in the 4th Quarter. If they were down 2 scores all 4th Quarter this would be understandable, but they were down 14–13 for much of the 4th and the worst deficit was 17–13. It was close so they did not HAVE to pass. Yet again, shows a lack of confidence in the run game.

Another observation was the lack of misdirection/deception. In the one and only misdirection play, they had their best run of the game. Only calling 13 running plays is bad, but not calling your best running play more often is just as worrisome. Also, the person who ran that misdirection (Dunbar) had 1 carry for 12 yards. On Murray’s 12 carries, his long was only 6 yards. Dunbar, if he can hold on to the ball, deserves more carries. That does not mean I think Murray deserves less, I think Murray deserves more too, but this goes back to only having 13 rushes in the game. The play callers have to do a better job of sticking to the run game even when they are getting minimal gains

The ultimate reason for this was to analyze who deserves most blame between the coaches, the line or the running backs. The OL got the blame on 4 plays, coaching received blame once, the RBs were blamed twice, and there were 6 plays were there was no blame given. Three of those six “no blame” situations came on the last three carries, which tells me the Chief’s Defense was wearing down. This is way not running in the 4th was so surprising. Teams find most running success late as D-Lineman become fatigued. Don’t believe me? Did you watch what RB Jamaal Charles did in the first 3 Quarters? 22 yards on 10 carries (2.2 average). Then rip off 33 yards on 6 carries (5.5 average).

The main blame can be the offensive line, but the coaches have to do a better job of not giving up on the run like they did especially when the defensive is starting to show signs of fatigue. Murray can do a better job of not becoming frustrated with the lack of carries and lack of space early, and stay patient for the right opportunities.

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  • BradAustin

    Lack of correct personnel to run a multi-TE offense as your base and only option. All 3 guys are receiving TE’s. Witten can’t make the jump in the backfield to lead block on short-yardage for strategy reasons. Hannah and Escobar are not even average blockers on the line, much less for lead blocking. So where is the guy? Nowhere.

    In the multi-TE design, you’re not dropping the FB altogether, you’re just re-assigning a TE to handle his job when the formation calls for it. Not a one of these guys can remotely function as a FB. They knew it. They were hoping Rosario could handle it. He couldn’t so they just said “oh well, let’s go as is”. Guess what, our running game blows again. Wonder why. They know why, they ignored it and continue to do so hoping it will improve AS IS. Same old, same old.

    • Damon Bailey Smith

      Lack of a FB is definitely hurting them. I hated when last year they got rid of Tony Fiametta because of te chemistry him and Murray had. This was more of an assessment of what went wrong during the game and not making poor personnel decisions but I completely agree. Much of the problem stems from not having the right personnel aka a true FB

  • BradAustin

    It related to the specific game by limiting options in short-yardage and redzone play-calling. The series where we ended with with a 3rd and 8 quick swing pass to Terrance Williams that had no shot. With the right personnel that series would’ve had a FB set on 1st and 2nd down. However, with the sets we are running to our lack of power blocker, our offense is highly predictable. Defenses can focus on pass coverage much more as they know the front 7 will handle the run by themselves.

    I agree, we were more than able financially to keep Fiametta and still add the cute draft pics JJ wanted. Eliminating the FB spot without knowing who could handle lead blocking was jumping the gun and the effects showed against the Chiefs. The only real shot you have against a power defensive front 7 like that is to have a lead blocker that can pound open a lane. We don’t and it will show up time and again in each individual game.

    Nice article, btw. Enjoy your day.

    • Damon Bailey Smith

      Thanks for the insightful comments. It’s just crazy to think that a few years ago Garrett was so committed to having a FB they drafted Chapas and now they have completely eliminated the position. I would like to go get John Conner. Watching hard knocks proved how great of a lead blocker he is and like you pointed out, that’s what dallas needs. A hard nose mauler to run in front of murray

  • ctcowboy1968

    Really nice analysis. Need to run more. Less stretch plays. More traps. Get the interior 3 to develop an attitude and bull straight ahead (though this is best done with a FB). Personally are not being used right give the situation on the field. Williams is not a red zone guy. Red zone is for proven players. Dez, Miles, Witten and maybe Escobar since he was drafted for the red zone.

    • Damon Bailey Smith

      Dez should get at least one jump each time the cowboys are in a goal-to-go situation and they way he was abusing Flowers they shoulda thrown a jump ball on first second and third down that series. Te screen to Williams was sickening with talent like Dez, Miles and Witten
      Running the ball more effectively down there would be nice too

  • Jack

    Regards run 5, OG Arkin#62, Was Inactive Vs KC. He Played Very Well Preseason, Fast, Smart And Strong. Maybe The Running Game Would Be Better If He Started.

    • Damon Bailey Smith

      My apologies. After looking at it again I thought it was 62 when it was actually 67 OC Phil Costa. Thanks for the correction