As I watch the Dallas Cowboys week after week putting up a ton of yards only to fail to get into the endzone, multiple 3 and outs, and Tony running for his life, it’s obvious to me that the offensive scheme merits most of the blame. It’s time for Tony Romo to man up to Jason Garrett and demand that he revamp the offense to protect the QB better.
Michael Lombardi said it best on the NFL Network. “The Dallas Cowboys’ (Garrett’s) offense puts me to sleep.” I have to agree. They are 32nd in rushing, 26th in the red zone, and 18th in points; as a whole, the team is 31st in penalties. Let’s face it, Garrets’ Coryell Offense is outdated. Norv Turner, even though a better play caller, is also struggling with it, and he’s probably on his way out of San Diego as a result. There is miles of tape on this system and Garrett has made no significant changes . Why do you think that is? I’ll tell you why. Jason Garrett isn’t the genius everyone thinks he is. Nope, he is a guy that learned another person’s offense, kept the play book and has no idea how to scheme it any differently. (Other coaches have taken an older system like Bill Walsh’s and altered it to fit the strengths of their particular team. An updated version so to speak.) This is why Garrett always lines the Dallas Cowboys up in the same formations and runs the same plays.
When he was asked why he doesn’t make any changes (about a month ago) the response was:
“I think in general you have to be careful of change for changes sake, he said. You have to be convicted about what you believe in.”
Well, there you have it people. The New England patriots have had 11 consecutive winning seasons and look like a lock for the playoffs again this year. In the time that Jason Garrett has been the Offensive Coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys, the NE Patriots have changed the way their offensive system is run 3 times. In order for a system to be successful, it has to attack defenses with stuff they haven’t seen before. Tom Landry came with different looks and formations all the time, and he also included the occasional gadget play when the defense least expected it.. This is why he was called the “Great Innovator”. He not only designed his own offense, but his own defense as well. It has been said that once he mastered his defensive scheme, he then designed an offense to score on it. The best title I can come up with for Jason Garrett is the “great plagiarizer”. It appears as though he’s stuck with someone else’s play book and has no clue how to scheme his own offense.
Personally, I prefer a variation of the Bill Walsh style West Coast Offense my dad uses. There are a lot of different formations that not only confuse defenses, but allow the quarterback to get rid of the ball quicker. Dan Fouts pretty much put the Air Coryell Offense on the map with his deadly aerial attack. The two main things you need for this offense to be successful is an offensive line loaded with guys who are efficient as run blockers and pass protectors and a solid red zone running game. The reason being, the Coryell offense is made up of a lot of deep vertical routes that take time to develop down the field. However, without a solid ground attack it stalls when you get in to the red zone. Not surprisingly, this is where The Cowboys have struggled the most. (26th in the NFL in the red zone.)
Jason Garrett needs to realize that he isn’t coaching the 90′s Dallas Cowboys team with 5 All Pro offensive linemen in front of the QB. A line that was good enough that they could line up the same way every time, pound Emmitt on the ground and attack with the deep vertical routes out of the play action. They could look at the opposing teams defense and say, “This is what we are going to do, stop us if you can.”
Jason Garrett needs to realize he doesn’t have a Larry Allen or a Nate Newton. He can’t big boy opposing defensive lines. This is where scheme comes in to play. Jason needs to learn to attack the defenses with quick short passes. Romo should be able to take 3 steps back and release the ball immediately.
Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints was blessed with a coach like Sean Payton who schemes an offense, so the QB doesn’t have to hold the ball long. He utilizes his small, quick, shifty guy (Darren Sproles) underneath giving Drew Brees a quick release option. I included a picture of my dad’s running back route tree below. As you can see, there are a variety of ways the RB can attack the defense out of the back field. This makes defenses think twice about sending too many guys on a blitz.