Why Bob Sturm is Wrong About Scott Linehan

Dallas Cowboys fans who don’t know Bob Sturm’s work are truly missing out. I would list his analysis and critique of the Cowboys at the very top of sports commentators. That includes all the national media as well.

But the "Sturminator" is wrong about the logic behind the Linehan hire. During his radio show on The Ticket, Sturm recently opined that Linehan is going to lead to more of the same pass-happy offense that we’ve come to expect from Garrett and company.

But a good look at the stats for the Lion’s offense last year shoots holes in that assessment.

The Lions were ranked fourth in time of possession, just below the Saints.

Speaking of the Saints, the Lions passed a similar amount to their running backs as the Saints did.

Now, I realize they are still passes, but many coordinators refer to them as extended handoffs. I would argue that they belong as much to the running game as they do the passing game. Many of those plays are a version of a screen, meaning that careful attention and practice has been paid to getting blockers out in front of the running back once he has the ball. I’d say that is closer to a run play than a 15 yard out, wouldn’t you?

The Lion’s got more than 1000 yards of receiving from their top two backs, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell.

Next, the Lions were ranked 14 in rushing attempts last year, despite averaging a mediocre 4 yards/carry.

Dallas was ranked 31 in rushing attempts, despite averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

Dallas’ 4.5 yards per carry was tied for seventh best in the league, yet the Cowboys eschewed the run too often-a point that has been beaten to death, but is non-the-less true.

Linehan committed far more to the run than Garrett/Callahan, despite having a far less productive rushing attack.

The potential I see from Linehan with this offense is off the charts.

He got 2709 yards, running and passing from his top two running backs last year, which represented 42 percent of his total offense.

And what did that do for Calvin Johnson? It helped him get open—especially since Linehan moved him around and kept defenses from taking him away.

Cowboys fans should expect more involvement from the running backs, not less, under Linehan. And they should expect more favorable matchups for Bryant, because Linehan achieved that in Detroit with Megatron. And he didn’t have a HOF tight end to draw coverage, nor did he have the nation’s leading college wide receiver (Terrance Williams) to threaten deep.

As I see it, this could be a huge get for Dallas that is actually being criticized in most quarters. Local ESPN commentators are calling it more "dysfunction" in Dallas , "too many cooks in the kitchen", etc.

It would seem that much of this media antagonism comes from not having a more dramatic story to report. An all new, big name coaching staff would allow sports analysts to write tons of articles on new philosophies, new systems, new personalities.

But all we are stuck with is a shuffling of responsibilities and some guy named Linehan joining the party. So by all means, lets bag on it. Except that he might actually be exactly what the team needs and it might work out really well. There are certainly plenty of numbers to support that.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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