Much has been made this week about the Dallas Cowboys and their paltry nine rushing attempts against the hapless Minnesota Vikings last week at the venue formerly known as Cowboys Stadium.
My question is this: Why?
I ask this not because I don’t understand the importance of running the football. In fact, it has amazed me for years now that the Cowboys have come full circle on offense, at least where the franchise’s philosophy is concerned. This is an organization that has had numerous occasions of championship success with the likes of runners such as Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith.
I ask why simply because it’s quite clear that Dallas’ priority is no longer built around the blue-print of previous success. Today, that priority is something quite different, but speculating on this is a different discussion entirely.
My point is this: The Cowboys don’t care about running the ball or offensive balance, regardless of what the franchise may claim from time to time.
Tired is the argument that Dallas has to throw the ball simply because they aren’t good at running. This is just like a young school student stating that they can’t do multiplication and division because they only know addition and subtraction.
In other words, when weaknesses are discovered in a given situation, it’s generally a good idea to fix or fortify that weakness before getting carried away with expectations. After all, do you honestly expect the Dallas offense to perform like a contending unit each week?
Owner and general manager Jerry Jones has had years to both identify the problems associated with running the ball in Dallas and fix them. He’s had exactly one 1,000-plus yard rusher since the departure of the league’s greatest running back, Smith, prior to the 2003 NFL regular season.
Granted, former Dallas head coach Bill Parcells, who manned the post from ’03 to 2006, was a run-oriented personality that broke a decade-long trend of rushing futility that plagues the Cowboys to this day. It’s ironic, however, that Parcells was the one to accomplish this feat despite being a specialist in the 3-4 defensive scheme.
His successor, at least from an offensive standpoint, was none other than today’s head coach Jason Garrett, rumored to be coaching for his job this year following back-to-back seasons of .500 football. Garrett, if you’ll recall, served three and a half seasons as offensive coordinator before taking over the head coaching job for Wade Phillips, fired halfway through the disastrous 2010 regular season.
So what’s Garrett’s excuse?