In a copycat league, teams are winning with potent aerial attacks. Why are the Dallas Cowboys obsessed with being the best rushing team in the league?
In the transition to a more quarterback Dak Prescott friendly offense, the Dallas Cowboys have been acquiring players to make the running game deadly. Our offensive line is a dominant group of athletes that deserve to be mentioned by name: tackles Tyron Smith and Cameron Fleming, guards Conner Williams, Zack Martin and La’el Collins, and center Travis Frederick.
I’m aware that I listed six people and left off tackle Chaz Green. Offensive linemen may get shuffled around both before and during the season. It’s still a great group of athletes and it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect our new collection of running backs to gain four yards per carry.
I’ve heard fantasies about how this deadly rushing attack could be used. It was pitched that the Cowboys could start games with running back Ezekiel Elliott. Rod Smith would enter games to give Elliott a breather.
Afterwards, Bo Scarbrough, the 6′ 2”, 235 pound bruiser from Alabama would bulldoze linebackers. That would allow speedster, Tavon Austin to sprint through gaps created by our new fullback Jamize Olawale from the Oakland Raiders. Elliott would return late in the fourth quarter to finish games with fresh legs.
Looking at the numbers, it’s completely possible that this could happen. I just named seven offensive linemen, five running backs and it’s possible that the Cowboys keep three quarterbacks – Dak Prescott, Mike White and Cooper Rush. The Cowboys initial 53-man roster from 2017 had two quarterbacks, five running backs and eight offensive linemen.
Unfortunately, when I look at the list of NFL’s leading rushers and compare it to Super Bowl Champions, the emphasis on running the football doesn’t make any sense.
Why are the Cowboys focused on running the football in a league dominated by the passing game? The 1998 Denver Broncos are the last team to win the Super Bowl and have the NFL’s leading rusher – Terrell Davis.
Having the running back with the most yards hasn’t resulted in a Super Bowl title for teams in 20 years. Have you ever wondered why the NFL has devalued the running back position? It’s because teams are winning championships by throwing the football.
The 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers are the only Super Bowl Champions – Super Bowl XL – that won with more rushing yards (181) than passing yards (166).
The 2009 New Orleans Saints had 51-rushing yards when they defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV with 50-rushing yards.
The Arizona Cardinals would have won Super Bowl XLIII with 33-rushing yards, if not for a Tony Romo type touchdown toss to receiver Santonio Holmes from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with 35 seconds left.
Owner Jerry Jones and the front office has Cowboy Nation obsessed with being the NFL’s best rushing team. Meanwhile, teams are winning Super Bowl championships with little to no concern about the ground game.
In a copycat league, where teams are winning with potent aerial attacks, it doesn’t surprise me that the Cowboys would do the opposite. Let’s hope our way works.