I don't know if is a good idea to disagree with the front page writers, given that they are in a place I would not mind being myself one day, but when I see something that provokes a strong response, I can't stop myself from taking the plunge. Besides, the hardest thing for me about writing a post is coming up with a good, interesting idea, and when one gets handed to me, I just can't pass it up. I have the same problem with really good but unintentional straight lines. I get in more trouble that way.
KD wrote a post listing 5 things that he thinks need to happen for the Cowboys to have a successful season. I can see four of them, but one of them I have a real issue with:
2 - Felix Jones must rush for over 1,000 yards or he will officially become a bad first round pick.
I have actually have a couple of problems with that statement.
The first thing is that I don't think you need to have one star running back in the NFL today. I think it is better to have a stable of good running backs, any of whom can hurt the defense and get yards when you need them. They also need to be a double threat, able to come out of the backfield as a pass receiver, maybe even motioning into a slot position. Having that one go-to running back makes your offense more predictable. If he's there, then the defense knows a running play is more likely. If he's out, then the play is more likely a pass, all other things being equal.
Personally, I don't like predictability in the football team I pull for. (There are a couple of other places I don't like it, but since this website has certain standards, I will leave it at that.) Predictability sounds way too much like vanilla. If you had a football team that could move down the field and score no matter what the defense did, it might be different, but I don't think anyone sees the Cowboys as being even remotely near that level yet. So I want to see an offense that surprises you, that keeps its intentions hidden. It would go well with the expectations we have for our defense.
A trio of running backs who can all gouge you is part of that. I think that a rotation of Jones, Murray and Miller will give the team exactly that, with Jones as the designated starter, but giving the other two plenty of time on the field.
Oh. Perhaps you noticed who wasn't on my list. Well, this isn't the first time I have predicted that Choice is not going to make the team. I can't state exactly how it got to this, but my read on the comments coming from the coaching staff is that Choice is basically Roy Williams with a cheaper contract.
Anyway, I think Jones and Murray are both backs who can gash the defense, and Miller seems to provide enough power running to pick up those short yardage downs. Most importantly, all three seem to have the crucial RKG box checked.
My ideal scenario would be to see Felix at about 800 yards, Murray at 600 and Miller around 500, with the yardage totals roughly proportional to the snaps they see. Add in about 750 to 1000 yards receiving divided about the same way between them, and I think Dallas will have the running game it needs to compliment the passing attack and keep the opponents guessing. No 1000 yard rusher. And no matter.
That is one of the problems I had with the proposition. The other thing is this: What does Felix being a good or bad first round choice have to do with a successful season? Let me rephrase that: Suppose Felix has a bad year, only getting 500 or so yards, maybe slowed by injury, but Murray and Miller step it up, the Cowboys become the team Garrett and Ryan think they can, and in February we hoist another trophy. It could easily happen. Of the 5 things KD talked about, Felix not getting 1000 yards is the only one that I don't see keeping this team from succeeding, because there are other ways to get there. The other four I do think need to happen the way KD said, but for two of them, you might notice, he offered some alternative ways to get there. Sean Lee is, I think, necessary now. Keith Brooking might still be a serviceable backup, but he is no longer starter material. And, well, if we don't make the playoffs, our chance of winning the Superbowl drop off noticeably.
But Felix making 1000 yards is of little or no importance. I already put forward an argument for why the carries should be spread around. And if Murray or Miller start producing more than Felix, I would want to see the ball get fed to them. This is not about individual stats. This is about winning football games. Now, if Felix catches fire and burns it up for 1200 yards rushing and 800 receiving, I will be thrilled. The point is, it doesn't matter who gets the yards AS LONG AS THE RUNNING GAME IS EFFECTIVE! That means a consistent 120 to 150 yards rushing to keep the defense honest and pick up some short yardage conversions. It doesn't matter how those yards are accumulated. And if Felix doesn't get that 1000 yards while the team is winning, it doesn't mean he was a bad draft choice. It just means that it wasn't what the team needed this year.
Playing the role that helps the team succeed. I believe Jason Garrett has a shorthand version of saying that.
The Cowboy Way.