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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Blocking And Running Suddenly Sexy In Dallas

Latest Cowboys headlines: DeMarco Murray makes the Cowboys worth watching; The Cowboys' O-Line is a force to be reckoned with; Everyone blocking has Dallas Cowboys rolling.

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DeMarco Murray makes the Cowboys worth watching -
Click on this link right away. You are going to love this article by Danny Kelly from Field Gulls, the Seahawks blog on SB Nation, who gushes about he Cowboys' run game and provides a stellar breakdown. His summary:

Keep an eye on the Cowboys. They've got the NFL's best run game right now behind one of the NFL's best offensive lines, and the beauty in that is that they've still got their passing offense. Tony Romo still has his arm. He still has Dez Bryant, he's still got Jason Witten. He has a developing weapon in Terrance Williams. Dallas has used a stronger threat of the run to better utilize play action to throw downfield. They're getting more one-on-one's outside because teams are focused on the middle of the field. Balance has been a big reason Dallas is 3-1.

The Cowboys' O-Line is a force to be reckoned with. |
Sheil Kapadia also offers a detailed look at the Cowboys O-line "that is one of the best in the NFL."

The Cowboys don't use a lot of play-action, but when they do, it produces explosive plays. Per Pro Football Focus, Romo has completed 73.7 percent of his attempts and averaged 12.2 YPA off play-action this season.

The Cowboys still have plenty of question marks -- most notably, can a defense without much talent hold up its end of the bargain? But the formula on the offensive side of the ball is the right one. Make use of a young, talented offensive line and a productive back. That's what's gotten the Cowboys to 3-1 and what could have them in the mix for a playoff berth in December.

Mayock's Slant: Dallas Cowboys running game vs. New Orleans Saints - NFL Videos
In this video, Mike Mayock breaks down some of the less obvious reasons that the Dallas Cowboys running game has been successful.

"It's really no coincidence that when the Dallas Cowboys start winning football games, it's because they run football effectively."

Tony Romo ranked third overall QB Air Yards - Advanced Football Analytics
You're familiar with Yards After Catch (YAC), the yardage gained by the receiver after catching the ball. You may be less familir with Air Yards, the distance forward of the line of scrimmage that the passer throws a complete pass through the air. Tony Romo ranks third in the league with 4.9 Air yards per pass attempt. Look over the list, it is very instructive to see where some QBs are getting their yardage from.

Frederick, Martin Compliment Dallas O-Line Coaches - Rowan Kavner,
Rowan Kavner writes that Center Travis Frederick believes key driver of the improved O-line performance is the amount of time former offensive coordinator Bill Callahan can spend with the O-line this year.

Callahan no longer has to call the plays, allowing him more time to do what he was originally brought in to do.

"He’s been an integral part in the success of the running game," Frederick said. "It’s been over the course, from what I can tell, over the last two years, he and coach (Frank) Pollack both. I definitely want to throw Coach Pollack in there, because they work together to set up a lot of the run game and work with us as an offensive line very equally."

Everyone blocking has Dallas Cowboys rolling - Jean-Jacques Taylor |
The Dallas Cowboys are getting great blocking not just from the line but the receivers and tight ends, too. That's why they're No. 1 in rushing, writes JJT.

Play-caller Scott Linehan began talking to the entire offense -- not just the lineman and running backs -- about the importance of consistently running the ball this season. Contrary to popular belief, Linehan said quarterback Tony Romo was among the first players on board with the Cowboys making the running game the epicenter of the offense.

"Every quarterback wants to throw the ball and have the gaudy numbers," Linehan said, "but Tony understands how easy the running game makes his job. Everything isn’t on his shoulders and it opens up the running game.

"We’re all about winning. This will help us win."

Cowboys can explain sudden turnaround on defense - USA Today
In the second year of the Kiffinelli defense, players are playing faster, thinking less, and not learning something new every week. The results:

The Cowboys don't stand out defensively in the rankings because they're giving up plenty of yards — including a bunch to Drew Brees and the Saints in the second half of a 38-17 win. But Dallas is among league leaders in takeaways with eight — a Marinelli staple — and in the top 10 in scoring defense, the other measure that matters the most to the man who took over the defense when Monte Kiffin was demoted after last season.

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys improve to 4-1, beat Houston Texans - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer argues that the run game will be too much for the Texans to handle. But not just because because the Cowboys have averaged 165 yards per game and the Texans are the 24th-ranked run defense this season, but also because the run game opens up the passing game:

Since the season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Romo has completed 84.6 percent of his play-action passes, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Since Week 2, he has averaged 15.2 yards per attempt on play action and he is 7-of-7 on first down play-action passes.

Dan Fouts: Giants gave Cowboys the road map to beat Texans | Dallas Morning News
Dan Fouts was part of the announcing team when the Gaints beat the Texans in Week three, and will be part of the announcing team for the Cowboys game on Sunday. He has this piece of advice for the Cowboys, based on what he saw from the Giants.

"I worked the Giants win over the Texans earlier this season. The Giants ran the heck out of the ball. Eli Manning rolled out away from Watt just about every time and changed the release point on his passes. The Cowboys have a road map."

3 Reasons the Cowboys Will Beat the Texans | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
An elite running game, a possibly rejuvenated quarterback and key Texans injuries should propel the Cowboys to victory over the Texans Sunday.

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