When new offensive playcaller Scott Linehan was hired in late January there was plenty of concern that Jason Garrett was bringing in another aerial assault guru who would go to the pass at every opportunity. While it is true that Linehan comes from the same high flying school of thought as the Dallas head coach, and that he recently led the pass happy Detroit Lions offense; Linehan is proving himself to be anything but pass happy. The Cowboys have demonstrated a willingness to pound the rock since the first game of the preseason.
Against the Tennessee Titans the Cowboys ran the ball a total of 43 times for 220 yards. The top dog in coach Gary Brown's stable of running backs, DeMarco Murray, accounted for 29 of those carries (a career high) and racked up 167 yards. Compare this to Tony Romo's afternoon. The Dallas passer also threw the ball 29 times accounting for 176 yards. By normal Dallas standards that is a pretty pedestrian outing, but the numbers do show that the Cowboys are not one dimensional. This edition of the offense is capable of moving the ball by any means that they choose.
Linehan , after the game, called particular attention to the Cowboys ability to run the ball at will.
"We needed a game like that. We needed to show ourselves No. 1 that we could do it - we knew we could - but to see them rattle off runs like that regardless of what the defensive look was, that was a huge plus for us.'' - Scott Linehan
My colleague here at Blogging The Boys, Tom Ryle recently questioned the toughness of the Cowboys and the coaching staff's willingness to drive the ball down the opposing team's collective throats. On Sunday the team showed that they can not only get the job done when they stay grounded, they also demonstrated that they are willing to commit to doing so.
There will still be days when the fate of the Dallas Cowboys is going to depend on the right arm of Tony Romo. To believe otherwise would be foolhardy. That does not mean that every week should be a 400+ yard effort for the Dallas passer. For the first time in recent memory, Dallas went on the road and won a game where Romo threw for less than 200 yards, and that is a good thing, and Tony knows it.
"There will be games where I've got to play at a high level for us to win and there will be games where we'll have the opportunity to do what we did and run the ball and do things. You've got a back like DeMarco Murray and a line that can pound in the running game, it gives you a chance." - Tony Romo
I couldn't agree more, Tony, and it looks like the Dallas offensive brain trust now sees things the same way.