The quickest way to the end zone is through the air. We have seen an incredible boom in the NFL’s passing game over the last couple of decades. More and more, year after year, teams are prioritizing and placing resources into their aerial attack. A prerequisite to this is having a top quarterback, and there are many who believe that the Dallas Cowboys meet this qualification given the success that Dak Prescott has had through the air at various points in his career.
The Cowboys themselves seem to agree with that idea given the contract that they gave Prescott a year and a half ago. Well, they maybe agree with that.
Jerry Jones says the Cowboys hope to be able to run the ball more than they did in the last few years
Oftentimes arguments about running the football can reach extremes. There is certainly a place for the run game in today’s NFL, but there is simply too much information and data accessible for anyone to believe that this is the foundation that offenses should be built on nowadays.
While the Cowboys did give their franchise quarterback a new deal last year, it was three years ago when they doubled down on spending the fourth overall pick on Ezekiel Elliott by awarding him a $90M contract extension.
The Cowboys seem to want to be Zeke-led at all costs. They prioritized him last year over Tony Pollard from a usage standpoint even when Elliott suffered a PCL injury.
If you were wondering whether or not the Cowboys are swaying from their “run the ball” mindset then you are in for some news. Jerry Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan that they want to be able to run the ball in 2022 more than they have done so in recent years.
Jerry Jones on @1053thefan: With our plan and our personnel then we hope to be able to run that football more than we ran it, let's say, in the last few years. Zeke will be critical to that. But we'll also be able to run block. We should be able to run block.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) August 30, 2022
Prioritizing the run game is questionable in today’s game as noted, but it is even more of an interesting decision for this year’s Dallas Cowboys given the fact that are in all likelihood going to be starting a rookie at left tackle in Tyler Smith. Not to mention that they will also have a new left guard and new-ish right tackle with regards to last year’s roster.
Beyond the would-be logic of running the ball lies a different issue. The Cowboys have used Ezekiel Elliott at an excessive rate over the course of his career. He has had at least 230 carries in all of his six seasons to this point in the NFL (only six non-Zeke players eclipsed that mark last season). Many have noted how his yards per game have decreased in each of those seasons which would seemingly suggest that this is not the hill that the team should be choosing to die on.
Perhaps this is all just Jerry-speak with the season being two weeks away, but all of their actions for a long time now have reflected that this truly is their way of thinking.