Recently Tony Romo sat down with members of the Dallas media and shared his thoughts about what the addition of former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will mean for the Dallas Cowboys. As a part of the conversation the Dallas quarterback admitted that he is eager to get back on the field and start working with his new play-caller. He was also forthcoming that the new philosophy will incorporate elements of both the familiar "Air Garrett" offense and the similar but different concepts that were used last season in the Motor City.
"I think it can be beneficial to us not giving away too much stuff. But I think there’re some new things. There’re some things that will carry over. You’ll see some things that look similar. They’ll be subtly different things that I think will give us a little bit of an advantage. I don’t want to go into detail on that too much." - Tony Romo
While Romo did not directly answer the question when he was asked if the Cowboys would be looking for the vertical passing game to play a bigger role in the Dallas offense this season, he did allude to the fact that this was one of the "exciting" things that he sees in the way that Linehan runs an offense.
"I think that when you watch the tape of what the Lions have done, it's exciting to see some of the ways they attack teams," Romo said. "I think we're going to do some of that, and we're going to have some of our stuff. You always try new things that you're putting in each year, so I just think it's going to allow us to be an aggressive offense, and that's what you're going to be.
This seems to be a confirmation of what my fellow front page writer, Mr. KD Drummond, stated to be his expectation for the Dallas offense in his recent look at what the addition of Linehan will mean for the Cowboys offense.
I still feel very comfortable proclaiming that Linehan likes to run the rock a bit of an urban legend. - KD Drummond
Based on what Romo has said, the Cowboys offense is looking to be more aggressive in 2014 and that means looking to get the ball downfield quickly. With a weapon like Dez Bryant in the arsenal, who could blame them. Still Romo admits that it will be a balancing act for the entire offensive brain-trust to maintain a balance and incorporate the run game as well. After all, DeMarco Murray can be a decisive weapon as well. The offense, no matter who is designing the game plan and calling the plays, needs to avoid becoming one dimensional.
"You look at certain games we needed to do other things differently. We needed to get the ball out of our hands quicker, and other games we needed to run the ball more, and other games we needed to push it down the field. We all need to be better, and I think that's the case for every single year though."
Therein lies the key to the Dallas offense finding success. As Tony stated, the Cowboys in 2013 needed to do some things differently. That will require adjustments in the thinking of each man involved in the Cowboys offensive game plan and a high level of confidence and trust in each other. Trust is one thing that seems to come easy for this group.
"I think in some ways as you get older you have more control with what you want to happen out on the field. That’s including leading up to the game and during. By the same token, if you think similar to what the play-caller and what the people putting the plan on are, you’ll probably take less control in that environment, I guess I would say. It all depends on the relationship, trust and then your longevity and your experience that you have as a quarterback. For me, you get to that point and you feel very comfortable going in and communicating what you want, and making sure that’s going to take shape."
While everything that was discussed sounds good, I am still left with some concerns. For one thing, I do not see anything other than lip service being given to the running game. Perhaps, by having DeMarco Murray in the fold, Scott Linehan will be the voice of reason who champions the running game to avoid disasters like the blown 23 point lead to Green Bay last season but based on his history of liking to stretch the field, I am not holding my breath.