Dallas Cowboys: Brandon Weeden’s success tied to the running game
Guess what Cowboy Nation, the season continues and injuries are part of the game. It was a few years ago that former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan used 382 different players on the defensive line. That number might be slightly inflated, but none of us should be worried. The big picture is that we are 2 – 0 in the division, so let’s recap on the positive and address Dallas Cowboys issues uncut, raw, straight with no chaser.
This off-season we worried about signing wide receiver Dez Bryant to a long term contract. When he threatened to hold out, Cowboy Nation wondered how would we win games without him. Without Bryant making a significant contribution against the New York Giants, we won. Without Bryant on the field in Week 2, we defeated the Philadelphia Eagles. This Sunday, we’re going to defeat the Atlanta Falcons – of course, I never think we’re going to lose.
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Our quarterback Tony Romo has been injured before and we’ve rallied behind Brad Johnson aka Captain Checkdown and Kyle Orton aka Mr. I’d Rather Freeze in Buffalo. Now it’s time to support Brandon Weeden. I’ve asked Cowboy Nation to support him in the past. His job would be easier if Bryant was on the field, but the team can get it done. There’s a reason we have four tight ends on the roster.
I’ve openly stated that Kellen Moore on the practice squad is the future face of the Cowboys, but Weeden is the now for at least the next eight weeks. We just need the real Weeden to please stand up. It’s his second year in the system and he looked like first round draft pick Brandon Weeden instead of “cable tv” Brandon Weeden.
By now, you’ve seen Weeden’ numbers – 7 of 7, 73 yards and 1 touchdown. That touchdown pass to wide receiver Terrence Williams was crisp. We don’t need Weeden to win games with his arm. He just has to keep defenses honest, move the chains and hand the ball to the running backs.
I’m not a fan of those suggesting the Cowboys trade for Robert Griffin III, Tim Tebow or any signal caller that has never seen head coach Jason Garrett‘s playbook. Many quarterbacks struggle when they get a new offensive coordinator each year. Schemes and concepts might be the same, but the terminology is always different.
Yes, Dustin Vaughn looked terrible but he does know the playbook. Kyle Orton retired and burned bridges with the Cowboys. Why look off the roster to get Matt Cassell? Jameill Showers looked good in preseason and would be my choice. He could easily be pulled up from and sent back to the practice squad. Moore would get my vote if it were later in the season.
When I heard we traded for Cassell, I had no idea he was still in the league. Is he on anyone’s fantasy team? I welcome Cassel to the Cowboys with open arms, but I’m hoping they hitch the wagon to Weeden.
Weeden will still need help from the guys around him. There’s something wrong when the team with the “league’s best offensive line” can’t punch the ball in from the one yard line. I would’ve settled for a quarterback sneak, fullback dive or create the Cowboys version of William Perry aka “The Fridge”.
I know defensive players get paid too, but our offensive line and running backs on the one yard line should be an automatic six points.
2015 Dallas Cowboys Offensive Linemen
The last name on this list – Zach Martin – has been under my microscope. I blasted former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray for fumbling against the Green Bay Packers during the 2014 NFL playoffs. My buddy John Wagner put the blame on Zach Martin for missing his block on defensive end Julius Peppers. Since then, I’ve been watching closely and John’s claim that Martin misses a lot of blocks in space is correct.
Our running game hasn’t been dominate or jaw-dropping this season. In two short weeks, the running back by committee is averaging 3.4 yards per carry after 56 attempts and zero touchdowns. The 3.4 yard average is tied with the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins.
Only four other NFL teams have a lower rushing average – see rankings here. There are three teams leading the league by averaging 4.9 yards per rushing attempt. I’m not blaming all the problems on Martin, but if we are “running to get six with our woes”, then everyone needs to focus and reduce penalties.
The Cowboys offensive line will get every teams best shot. Leaving the stadium with a win is better than gaudy rushing stats, but we will need better rushing stats to get wins – especially if “cable tv” Brandon Weeden shows up.
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Next: Dallas Cowboys trade for Matt Cassel; Quarterback Stop-Gap