The Dallas Run-Game, Defense, and WR Terrance Williams: Dallas Cowboys Mailbag


Dallas Cowboys Mailbag

"I was very impressed with Big D’s defense, but want to know why the offense isn’t running more to eat up the clock, and so the passing game can be strong weapon against teams. What do you think of Terrance Williams? We also need receivers that can catch well, and make a lot of yards after the catch!!!- Catherine"

You touched on three topics:

  1. The Defense
  2. The Running Game
  3. Terrance Williams

Let’s start at the top with the defense.

November 11, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) reacts after returning an interception for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 38-23. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


There are parts I liked about the defense’s performance on Sunday Night but also parts I hated. The obvious parts I liked were the turnovers. I don’t rememeber the time I saw the Cowboys win the turnover margin by 5. Amazing testament to the opportunistic and aggressive play of the defense.

I’ve heard the counter-argument – Half of those NY turnovers were their own error and not forced turnovers.

You can always make a case that any turnover is the fault of the offense rather than a credit to the defense. While it’s important to consider the circumstances and the skill involved in creating the turnovers, every turnover counts the same, and every turnover requires the defense to make a play. This defense made plays, therefore they deserve full credit.

The Defensive Line on the defense also played really well. Without 2 of 4 starters, the backups performed surprisingly well. Granted the NY O-line isn’t what it once was – but still – the D-line won the battle at the line and instilled some confidence going forward.

The Secondary is another story. The secondary let Eli pass all over them. Not with dazzling plays but with easy competitions. I’ll speak more to the pass coverage at a later date but this was not a good performance by the secondary. They didn’t disguise their coverage in any way. Even Mark Sanchez can pick this defense apart if they don’t disguise the coverage. Monte Kiffin better get working on this yesterday or this will kill the Cowboys all season.

Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) is tackled by New York Giants outside linebacker Keith Rivers (55), free safety Ryan Mundy (21) and middle linebacker Mark Herzlich (58), in the game at AT

Running Game

The Cowboys didn’t lean on the running game more because they don’t yet fully trust it. The Cowboys had a good lead entering the 4th quarter providing the perfect opportunity to run the ball and kill the clock. I was expecting to see 12 and 13 formations (2 and 3 TEs) pounding the ball and sprinkling in short passes along the way. Instead we saw a slight attempt to run then a reversion to the passing game.

The Cowboys have been a pass-happy team for so long it will be a while before the run-game can catch up. Old habits die-hard and even with Bill Callahan calling plays, the Cowboys will revert to the pass when the going gets tough.

The running was good (not great) but it did start laying the foundation of trust this team needs from it’s run-game. If the Cowboys O-line can continue their improved run-blocking, we should see the Cowboys lean on the run-game more and more as the season progresses. Just remember, the Cowboys will always be a pass-first team no matter how good the run-game proves itself to be.

Terrance Williams

I discussed Terrance Williams on Tuesday in this article, Is Rookie WR Terrance Williams Helping or Hurting the Dallas Cowboys?

I like his potential for success but it’s not worth the potential for disaster at this point. I’d like to see him learn from the sideline and practice field rather than in-game trial and error. His incorrect route adjustment on Sunday could have caused a shift in points by 14. That will lose a game in most cases. I would rather see Dwyane Harris running routes than Williams at this point.

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