From all I hear, and especially since TO is no longer a part of the offense, folks seem to think that the Cowboys O in 2009 will focus much more on the run game. And I’m all for it! I think it will help the team become, as they say, “Romo-friendly.”
Emphasizing the run should come naturally to a team that can boast the likes of Marion the Barbarian, Felix the Cat Jones, and Tashard the Right Choice.
Last year Barber ran for 885 yards (with limited playing time late in the season), Felix was good for 266 rushing yards (also with limited time due to injury) and Choice ran for 472 (as the backup when Barber went down.) Both Jones and Choice averaged 5 yards or more per carry!
No one knows, at this point, what the ball distribution percentages will look like for our “Three-Headed-Monster” rushing attack this year. It is not likely, in my opinion, that they all get equal carries. My assumption would be that Barber still gets most of the carries, with Felix and Choice coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
When I first started watching NFL football, the year was 1971. And of course, our beloved Cowboys won the Super Bowl, January 16, 1972 in New Orleans, defeating the Dolphins 24-3.
Let me point out, just briefly, the running attack employed by both Super Bowl contenders that year.
The Cowboys: Duane Thomas, Walt Garrison, and Calvin Hill
The Dolphins: Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, and Mercury Morris
Both teams employed the “run by committee” strategy and it put them in the Super Bowl.
Through the years, many different teams have had excellent run games by focusing on a single workhorse of a runner. Several examples come to mind:
Other NFL teams have had success using the run-by-committee approach.
Just look at the 2008 season:
NYG – Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, and Ahmad Bradshaw (Ranked #1 Rushing)
BAL – Le’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee, and Ray Rice (Ranked #4 Rushing)
OAK – Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden, and Michael Bush (Ranked #10 Rushing)
DEN – Michael Pittman, Peyton Hills, and Tatum Bell (Ranked #12 Rushing)
TB – Warrick Dunn, Earnest Graham, and Cadillac Williams (Ranked #15 Rushing)
There may be other examples of run-by-committee not listed here, but these are the ones that I could think of right now.
Last year, by the end of the season, the Cowboys were only ranked #21 in rushing yards. That should all change this year.
With the new emphasize on running this year, and with our run-by-committee approach in full swing from game one, I am predicting that our running game ends up in the top 10 for 2009, which I’m hoping helps to land us a playoff spot.
If all goes well, Romo should not feel like he has to carry the burden of making things happen, forcing balls to TO, or scrambling around and wildly throwing balls up for grabs because of another 3rd and long situation. The improvement of the run game, should put us in more 3rd and short opportunities.
I, for one, believe that our run-by-committee approach can and should work!