One of Emmitt Smith's greatest skills as a player, in my humble opinion, was his ability to not take a direct hit. You don't become the leading rusher in league history without maintaining your health and body through the bruising gauntlet of a season. He might be retired, but Emmitt is still very adept at maneuvering.
In this final installment from our interview with the three-time Super Bowl Champion, we wanted to get his take on the Cowboys coaching fun that has found them with a lot of chefs in the kitchen. As you'd expect, Emmitt got his point across, but maneuvered through the question without giving out any direct hits.
Do you have concerns about Scott Linehan's commitment to the running game based on his previous experience?
Most definitely. Most definitely. Not to say that he can't make an adjustment, but yeah. Everyone in the NFL, if you don't have an Adrian Peterson or a Marshawn Lynch, guys like that... I don't know if teams are as committed to running the football as they should be. Washington Redskins were committed to running the football, and they utilize two running backs, I think that's something that the Cowboys definitely need to get back to.
And that is the balance that we need to eat up the clock number 1, to protect the ball number 2, to play field position number 3, to allow our defense and our special teams to get back to what they do best...
I think by being able to run the football you build that toughness that a team needs.
Does Linehan's increased usage with Reggie Bush and Joique Bell bode well?
Yeah but a lot of it is coming off that passing game, spread offense look.
Do you have a problem with the way the Cowboys have structured their coaching hierarchy?
It is completely different than what I'm accustomed to... when I played, Norv Turner was our offensive coordinator and there was no question about it. Hudson Houck was our offensive line coach, there was no question about it. At the end of the day, if there was a run game that needed to be taken care of Hudson Houck was that guy, but Norv Turner was the OC. But they both had worked together and understood the offensive system that we were running... and there was a commitment, the key word, there was a commitment to running the football. 20 plus times a game. There was a commitment that Troy was gonna throw the ball 30, 35, no more than 40 times a game. That balance is really what we were after.
That commitment got everybody's mind focused in the direction that we should go. And that clarity just made everything that we worked for in the offseason, in training camp... everyone's mindset was ‘we gonna pass the ball when we have to, we're gonna run the ball when we have to.' At the end of the day, our guys were happy knowing they were gonna fire off on a defensive lineman, rather than playing catch the whole time...
Running the ball is your only chance as an offensive lineman to really fire off, hit somebody in the mouth, and make them feel you. When you pass setting the whole time, they're firing off on you for four quarters. That is not a cool thing to do. You are the receiver. The mentality there is you give your guys a chance to fight back. As long as they pass setting, they can't fight back.
We've already covered a lot of the interview in Parts I & II, but there's still more for you to hear. That's why, you should make sure to tune in Wednesday night for the next Episode of Cowboys Crunchtime With KD, where we will play the Emmitt interview, in it's entirety. We'll also digest all of the Scouting Combine winners and losers, look at the DeMarcus Ware salary conundrum and have our next Draft Profile: Aaron Donald.