Cowboys News & Notes: Run Game On Everyone's Mind

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas running offense, or the lack thereof, is not the only topic being talked about, but it is the most frequently discussed.

Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys need to re-commit to the running game | Dallas Morning News

Is it just me, or is week three of the season a little early to be "re-committing" to things?

To summarize his many responses, the Dallas Cowboys head coach said the team needs to "recommit to running the football."

"In yesterday's game, we were in some no-huddle type situations for some different reasons," Garrett said, "to attack their defense, to handle some of the crowd noise, to handle some of the third down situations, and we just simply threw the ball too much in those kind of situations."

Jerry Jones: Dallas Cowboys have answers to running game problems; ‘We’ll get it worked out’ | Dallas Morning News

I'm glad the Big Daddy Cowboy is confident in all this, but some of us are kinda waiting for those results thingies.

"You're going to see more play-action passes," Jones said. "You haven't seen it but you're going to see more. You're going to see more zone blocking. You'll see us emphasize tight ends, more.

"We got a lot of answers there, and in my view, we'll get it worked out."

Is DeMarco Murray another Julius Jones? - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

I hate it when something bothers me but makes some sense at the same time.

The flashes of brilliance from the rookie running back created buzz about whether he could follow the Hall of Fame footsteps of Cowboys legends Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith.

A few years later, Julius Jones left Dallas as JAG, to borrow a Bill Parcells term, far from HOF.

Is DeMarco Murray running down the same road? The similarities certainly are striking.

3 Questions: Broaddus On Running Game Blame & Kicker

So what do the Cowboys need to fix about the ground game? Uh, everything?

I am not here to say that Murray does not have his own faults and he will admit them to you. There has been a carry or two where Murray didn't make the right cut and it has hurt the play but this has been a collective effort and I would even include the coaches here. Not one person deserves the blame here but it's going to take more than one person to make this work.

Cowboys Run-Game Pledge Sounds Like Trouble | CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Fix everything about the run game? Can we get a second opinion?

The Cowboys spent considerable time Monday in self-evaluation. Is the running-game problem a matter of Murray being ineffective? Is it a matter of offensive-line woes? Is it a matter of play-calling philosophy?

In a word ... yes.

Moore: Despite grand plans, Cowboys offense has fallen flat | Dallasnews.com - News for Dallas, Texas - SportsDayDFW

Oh, and if you think the only problems the Cowboys are having are in the running game, allow me to provide a pin to burst your bubble.

Dallas ranks No. 24 in offense. No Cowboys player finds himself among the NFL's top 12 in passing, rushing or receiving. Only five teams have scored fewer offensive touchdowns than the three the Cowboys have scraped together.

Bob's Blog - Live from Lewisville: Decoding Callahan: Week 2 - Kansas City Chiefs

Bob Sturm, in another one of his stats and diagram loaded analyses, takes the position that the lack of the running game is also causing problems with the passing game, with a disturbing logic to his argument.

Here is how it happens: The lack of run brings more blitzing. The blitzing causes you to unload the ball fast. Unloading the ball fast means nobody's route can develop and all passes are within 5 yards of the line. All the passes being short makes the defense all crowd the line. Crowding the line closes the windows for the passes. And suddenly, either you fit the ball into a very tight spot or you are punting again. And, with a bout of inaccuracy from their QB in the 4th Quarter Sunday that might have had to do with his ribs or just the pressure, the Cowboys were doomed.

Cowboys Corner: Jerry Jones reminds everyone Cowboys were underdogs going into Kansas City

We still don't like losing, Jerry.

"We went in there as the underdog," Jones said Tuesday on his radio show on KRLD 105.3 FM "The Fan," asked if he considered the game a lost opportunity. "The Cowboys were the underdog going in the game. The line actually expected us not to win that game. And so, let's keep that in mind."

Cowboys Corner: Cowboys 1-1 again, but it's not the same ol' 1-1 to Jerry Jones: 'It's not the same team or the same circumstances'

And that was not the only kinda weak defense of how things are going.

"It's pretty easy to line 'em up and say, ‘Well you started off 1-1 these last three or four years, you must be the same team.' When you're getting there differently - you got the same record, but you getting there differently - it's not the same team or the same circumstances."

Maybe we need to discuss measuring things by results.

Dallas Cowboys: Doug Free Team's Top-Rated Offensive Lineman - Yahoo Sports

Everyone who saw this one coming please raise your hand. Now use that hand to slap yourself for lying.

Through the first two weeks PFF has him ranked as the seventh best offensive tackle in the league. For perspective, Tyron Smith ranks 26th out of a total of 68.

Dallas still has issues with the interior offensive line, but the tackle situation is pretty good nowadays.

Dallas Cowboys player grades: Jason Hatcher tops the list, Mackenzy Bernadeau is at the bottom | Dallas Morning News

Here is another look at the way Pro Football Focus is grading things. I know not everyone likes PFF, but they are gaining more and more credibility and it looks like they are here to stay. Even when they come up with things that seem puzzling to read.

- Gavin Escobar is ranked (22nd) higher than Jason Witten (37th).

- DeMarco Murray is eighth among all running backs.

Advanced NFL Stats: Jason Garrett Should Have Punted

This is an interesting look at why making a 51-yard field goal may have been a worse play than punting the ball. Not sure I buy it, but it is something to think about.

Based on (the chart shown in the article), Dallas had a 25% chance of winning if they tried to convert the 4th down, a 36% chance of winning if they punted, and an 18% chance of winning by attempting a field goal. The punt may seem like the best choice, and it most likely is, but a case can be made for going for the first down because succeeding would have raised the Cowboys' win probability all the way up to 49%. It's nearly impossible to make a case for the field goal attempt, however. Dan Bailey did in fact convert the 53-yarder, raising his team's win probability to 24%. But as you can see on the chart, that's still lower than a punt by a significant margin.

Cowboys Corner: Bruce Carter laments the interception that got away

And admits to the classic mental mistake.

"It came at me fast, and it was kind of low to the ground," Carter said. "I was already thinking about going to the end zone before I caught it."

Dallas Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne has yet to show same ball-hawking skills that he displayed at LSU | Dallas Morning News

Oh, here come some more PFF numbers.

According to ProFootballFocus.com, Claiborne has graded out as the third-worst cornerback among 94 in the league this season. Brandon Carr is tied for 11th and Scandrick is tied for 31st. By the way, Oakland's Mike Jenkins - who Claiborne replaced as the Cowboys' starter last season - is tied for 13th.

The Cowboys' secondary will certainly be tested Sunday against St. Louis. The Rams rank fourth in the league in passing offense at 325.5 yards per game.

Claiborne was having a tough time getting his hands on the football with two working arms. Now he's down to one healthy limb.

Beat Writers Report: Moving Ware - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

Some hodgepodge observations about different things, with this being the most interesting to me, because it shows that Monte Kiffin is not exactly set in his ways:

In Sunday's game, Ware unoffically lined up 44 times on the right side and eight times on the left side getting a sack on each side. Ware also stood up as an outside linebacker eight times on the right, and twice on the left side. Ware said moving around the line was by design and expect to see more of it.

In defeat, Dallas Cowboys figured out how to limit the big play | Dallas Morning News

Speaking of Kiffin and his defensive philosophy, there was one big improvement from the first game of the season.

If the system is executed properly, defenders will keep the ball in front of them and make the offense work to score. In the Cowboys' first game, a victory over the New York Giants, they failed to do that. Dallas surrendered six completions of 20 yards or more, including a 70-yard bomb to receiver Victor Cruz. One week later, the Cowboys allowed half that total in a loss to Kansas City. The longest reception they conceded was a 31-yard catch by Donnie Avery.

On Game Day, Dallas Cowboys Stadium Uses More Energy Than Liberia | ThinkProgress

I'm not endorsing the views of this article. Just fascinated by this. (Oh, and just to save you having to Google it yourself, Liberia is a country in Africa with about 3.7 million residents - or about 41 times as many people as are in a sold out AT&T Stadium.)

The Wall Street Journal, citing an energy analyst, cross-checked the claim and found that on game days, the Cowboys' home, AT&T Stadium, indeed uses more energy than Liberia. In fact, according to the Journal, Liberia "has the capacity to pump less than a third as much power into its national grid" as the 10 megawatts of energy it takes to power AT&T Stadium, replete with its 25,000 square-foot video board, at peak demand on a normal game day.

And finally, an article that doesn't concern the Cowboys directly, but indirectly is very important.

Andy Reid plays it cool in return to Philadelphia - ESPN

It's Reid's first trip to play his old team, with big implications for the NFC East race.

What those close to Reid know is that the 55-year-old coach will burn to beat Philadelphia, even if he won't show it. Reid said he has no hard feelings about how his run in Philly ended, but it was ugly at the end. After the 2011 season, when the so-called Dream Team finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs, owner Jeffrey Lurie made the cryptic pronouncement that 8-8 wouldn't be good enough in 2012.

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