Just as we have seen in a few popular movies, there are rules for success. In turn, the Dallas Cowboys need some rules to follow for a successful season. Some of these rules may seem very obvious, but let’s face it: The Cowboys have made some pretty ignorant mistakes to ruin past seasons. Let’s get a few of the basic rules out of the way. These don’t make the top five list, but are very close. Such as, Rule #8-Never ice your own kicker. Or, Rule #11-Don’t trade first round draft picks for dud wide receivers.
We have cleared the air of those rules, let’s view what I feel are the top five rules for a successful season.
Rule #1-Role with the momentum of the game. The Cowboys need to go with what works. If they are playing against a team that is weak against the pass, then light up that secondary. Let’s say the Cowboys are playing against a team that is very weak against the run. Just to set up a hypothetical scenario here, the Cowboys are playing…oh, let’s say the Green Bay Packers. To keep the sake of this scenario in perspective, let’s say the Cowboys are up by twenty-three points, starting the second half. Even more, let’s say that running back DeMarco Murray is averaging over seven yards per carry. Which is an excellent average for a running back in a game. Common sense would say run the ball, milk the clock, and win the game. If you pass, then the clock stops at every incompletion, and keeps the other team alive. It also opens the door for turnovers, and losing control of the game. Back to our scenario, in a make or break situation, the Cowboys are facing a 2nd down and 6 yards to go. Given the information above, what should they do? Common sense says, run the ball. Does all of this sound familiar for some reason? Anyway, the summary of the rule is, go with what is working.
Rule #2-Put pressure on the quarterback. The key here is, put pressure on the quarterback without leaving major gaps. It is a given that if you do an all out blitz, there will be gaps that can be exploited. However, the right packages can be dialed up to keep the opposing quarterback on the move, and cause him to make mistakes. The Cowboys need to put a heated amount of pressure on the quarterback a solid five to ten more times per game than they did last season. The defense was not in the greatest shape, I know. We were pulling guys off the check out line at local grocery stores and putting them on the defensive line. But, this year is different. We have some players that will be able to rip through and cause havoc in the backfield.
Rule #3-Attempt at least three deep balls to wide receiver Dez Bryant. He will get one of them. He is athletic, he is strong, and he is fast. Just give him the chance, and he will bring it down.
Rule #4-Keep a balance of run and pass. (To be in accordance with rule number one, they should still go with what works, but don’t deviate greatly one way or the other.) I try to stay optimistic, but let’s face it, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is not Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Drew Brees. Why they continue to pass, pass, and pass is beyond me. Sure, in a starting quarterback starved league, Romo is our best chance right now. Obviously, they can’t ditch the pass completely, but they have a good running back in DeMarco Murray that needs to be trusted to carry the ball twenty plus times per game. This will open up some room to run draws and the play action. Here is a shocking statistic; the Cowboys are 11-0 when Murray rushes twenty or more times in a game. Wow.
Rule #5-Don’t forget trickery. I’m not saying be like a kid playing a game of Madden who attempts fake punts and fake field goals more than necessary. The argument is simply this: Don’t forget that intelligence is a bigger part of the game than some might think. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is a very intelligent man. After all, he graduated from Princeton University. His judgments aren’t as bad as the media makes them out to be. His overall challenge record is 10-5, which is decent. The Cowboys just need to be unpredictable. Ditch the reverses, though. They rarely work. However, don’t forget the flea flicker.
I’m not a professional, but I think a little common sense goes a long way.