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Cowboys say they remain committed to run

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Posted Sept. 24, 2010 @ 9:29 a.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

The numbers through two games suggest that the Cowboys' offense is severely out of whack. Coordinator Jason Garrett has been at the controls of an offense that has called 100 pass plays and only 42 runs. And yet there seems to be a perfectly logical reason for not leaning heavier on the run: It hasn't worked.

The team collectively is gaining 3.3 yards per carry and has a long run of 12 yards. The team has thrown the ball fairly well in two games, but not well enough to suggest such an imbalance can carry it through the rest of the season. Running for the sake of running, the team has suggested, does no good if it's not being done successfully.

And with the matchup of the Texans and their 2.3 yards per carry allowed, getting going on the ground might have to wait a week. One observer said that the Cowboys run a lot of slower-developing plays so that Marion Barber can get a full head of steam and so Felix Jones can use his speed to outrun defenders, but that so far at least, the offensive linemen are getting pushed back too far into the backfield, which has resulted in a lot of lost yardage and very short gains.

The Cowboys' bread-and-butter run play in 2009 was the lead draw, a delayed run. Another staple in the playbook the past few seasons has been the counter, in which the back jab-steps one way then follows his blockers through the hole. Neither generated anything notable the first two games, especially in Week Two.

The toughest spot for Dallas to get yards so far has been inside. But that doesn't place the blame solely on the guards and C Andre Gurode. The fullbacks also must block better on lead plays and isolations, and the tackles must do their jobs picking up linebackers at the second level before they can fill holes.

The only way Garrett is going to call for more runs, especially later in games, is if the offense starts getting more out of these plays that worked so well a season ago.

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