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Coaching From The Couch: Cowboys Running Game Still A Big Problem

The Cowboys are 1-1 and staring at a struggling Bears team for a Sunday night showdown, can this team take advantage?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Next verse, same as the first. The Dallas Cowboys have averaged just over 100 yards rushing in the last two contests. It's time they punish a team with their dominance. Everyone under the sun knows that the Cowboys' sport the leagues envy along the offensive line. Those five guys up front would be the first to tell you that they are not satisfied with how they have played in their first two games.

Getting 100+ rushing yards in back-to-back contests would be enough for the majority of teams in the NFL. However, for the Cowboys, it's not even close to satisfying. This is the team that has three first-rounders and one first-round talent all starting for them. They also spent their fourth-overall selection on Ezekiel Elliott, the dynamic running back from Ohio State. The Cowboys are certainly hoping for more success on the ground. It sometimes takes a moment to gel as an offense and the Cowboys just may be ready to start hitting their stride. After failing on a miserable 33% in the red zone in week one, Dallas put up points against the Redskins with a 60% red zone conversion rate.

For this coming week, the Cowboys will face off against the Chicago Bears, a team that is struggling, to say the least. We witnessed the Eagles absolutely dominate them last night with a rookie quarterback. Now, not only is Jay Cutler dealing with injured ligaments in his throwing hand but some of their defenders got banged up on Mondday as well. All of that is important stuff to remember but not as important as the number 22. See, the Bears are giving up an average 114 rushing yards per game which ranks them 22nd in the league. Everything that applied to the Cowboys last week, applies every week. Dallas has to come out with that mentality to run the football, which we know they will.

On Monday night, a questionable offensive line in Philadelphia paved the way to 100 yards on the ground for the Eagles. Dallas should easily eclipse that number but it depends on the Cowboys offensive line to open up the holes. They've done a nice job at pass protection, albeit they struggled with Washington's speed rushers, but the running game is their bread and butter. You have All-Pro's all along that line and it's time they get back on track and this game is one that can really get the foot on the gas for them.

We've seen how excellent Dak Prescott has been at spreading the ball around but if they can dominate at the line of scrimmage, this offense can take that next step that we know they are capable of. That's what has been missing here, they have some really good spurts with good runs. What they need to be is great at running the ball. It's their identity as a football club. It could be that Ezekiel Elliott isn't as patient of a runner as Alfred Morris but they just need to have a breakout rushing performance.

This is not to say that Dallas has been bad at running the ball, they just haven't been in the character of what is expected of them. Still, they have found the end zone four times on the ground, which is a great pace to be. What's concerning is that in this past game, the Cowboys rushed 30 times, five times they were stopped behind the line, and they only averaged about three yards per carry. Thankfully, Dallas has been outstanding on third downs but you want more manageable situations, like a few 3rd and 4's. You would hope to not have to make plays on 3rd and 11 like Prescott did twice in this game.

A punishing run game similar to what they had in 2014 is their formula. We know this and they know this. It really comes down to better execution from the offensive line and better vision from the running backs. Elliott seems as though he is ready to break out as we saw some really nice runs from him this past week against Washington. Of course, you can't be putting the ball on the ground. With the Chicago Bears struggling to tackle rushers, the Cowboys could find that type of game they've been looking for. All it takes is one outstanding rushing performance before it grabs hold of this offense once again much like two seasons ago. Remember how Jason Witten would talk about blocking and how much pride he took in it? They have all the pieces to run over the NFL, they just need a performance that wakes them up and shows them what they are capable of. Against the 22nd rated run defense, this is the type of game the Cowboys must take advantage of.

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