Oct 20, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick (72) guard Ronald Leary (65) and offensive tackle Tyron Smith (77) look to block during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 17-3. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboy's Running Game: Who's to Blame


Dallas Cowboy’s Mailbag:

I received multiple questions this week referring to the status of running game. Here is a paraphrased conglomeration of questions from Mark, Jose, and Catherine.

Our Running Backs stink. I don’t blame the Cowboys for throwing the ball all the time. When will we realize that good RBs are  what wins Super Bowls and draft a real RB?

I see and share your frustration but I think many are placing the blame on the wrong individuals. I give the least amount of blame to the running backs. As far as personnel, I think the running back situation in Dallas is pretty darn strong. Of course they could all be better, but I don’t feel the RBs are really the issue.

Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) runs with the ball against Minnesota Vikings safety Mistral Raymond (41) at AT

Consider this: When first contact is typically at or behind the line of scrimmage, it’s awfully hard to blame the running back, isn’t it?

The general lack of success has to be placed on the O-line and TEs. They are the ones responsible for opening holes and controlling the line of scrimmage. If they can’t do that, how does anyone expect a running back to achieve positive gains on a regular basis?

Does this mean I give the O-line all of the blame?

Of course not. I blame the play-calling more than the O-line.

Offensive lines work off of rhythm and momentum. If they pass-block 90% of the time, they will struggle with the 10% that they run-block. Conversely if they run-block 90% of the time, they will struggle the 10% they pass-block. This largely holds true for even the best NFL O-lines, especially a below average line like the Cowboys.

If the Cowboys want to have success running the ball - they will need to run the ball more. Novel idea, huh? Obviously running the ball more will result in more total yards, but it will also increase the yards per carry. The O-line should feel more rhythmic in their blocking and improve as the game progresses. That’s basically how the run game works. You deal with the limited results early and see the fruits of your labor in the second half.

Frankly, I don’t blame the running backs at all. I split the blame between the play-calling and the O-line (60/40 split IMO).

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at [email protected]. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray