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Cowboys need a return to the run game

All week, I've been pushing the idea that Dallas needs to return to the run game, even though the Seahawks' secondary is so banged up. Playoff games on the road are tough enough, but when you add in the possible weather conditions, having a solid running game can cure a lot of ills. If you can successfully run the ball, you keep the Dallas defense on the sidelines and you take some pressure off Tony Romo and lessen the possibility for mistakes. Nick Eatman takes a look at this issue.

But as they enter Saturday's wild-card game against the Seattle Seahawks (7 p.m. CST), they'll bring along a running game that steadily decreased its production in the final month of the regular season.

A running attack that was once ranked in the NFL's top five for nine straight weeks finished the season 13th.

But while the Cowboys have struggled to run the ball, Seattle hasn't fared much better trying to stop it. The Seahawks rank 22nd in the NFL in run defense, allowing 126.8 yards per game.

"All I know is, we need to run the ball better if we have any chance of winning a playoff game," Cowboys starting tailback Julius Jones said. "We just have to run the ball better, or we're going home."

Right on, it's at close to a fact as you can get. If Dallas can't run the ball, they'll almost certainly lose this game.

"If we can do that, I think we can be all right," Romo said of running the ball. "We've struggled in a lot of areas lately. So you can't just say one thing has been the problem. But when you can go out and run the football, it opens up so many other things we can do on offense."

Once you establish that you can run the ball on a defense, they are forced to move closer to the line of scrimmage and use a safety in support. Once you have that, the inexperienced corners of the Seahawks should be ripe for exploitation by Romo, Owens and Glenn.

In the good news department, Anthony Henry says his injury has subsided.

"It's gotten a lot better," said Henry, who played in all 16 regular-season games and had the most pass breakups by a Cowboys defensive back (23) since Everson Walls' 23 in 1984. "I've just been treating it and stuff, trying to rest it as much as possible. That's all I can do at this point."

Henry said the soreness has affected his range of motion at times, but that it can't be used as an excuse.

"If I'm out there, then I expect myself to play well every time," he said.

Want to read a reporter from Seattle's take on Bill Parcells, the person? Then read this article. It's kind of revealing by the author that he went into his interview with Parcells planning to be a jerk because he didn't like Parcells' personality. Nothing like pre-judgment from the media. In the end, he changes his mind about the Tuna.

One thing came out of today's press conference that was of interest. Parcells said that Pat McQuistan will be active again this week and that he wants to get him acclimated. This could be nothing, but it got me thinking, why would Parcells do this so late in the year? He must have a plan for McQ next year that includes more than sitting on the inactive roster each week. That thought led to the inevitable next thought - that means Parcells has to be here next year to actually implement that plan. Maybe the whole thing is a lot of nothing, but of anything that's been said or inferred over the last week about the Tuna's future that may be the most illuminating.

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