New Year, New QB, Same Old Cowboys

I tweeted last night about the end of the game. A full day later and it still represents my feelings at the time.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. What I want to talk about is play calling. Let me throw some truth at you.

  • 13 running backs rushed for over 1,000 yards this season, including Demarco Murray.
  • Murray finished with the 10th highest total in the NFL.
  • Murray finished with the 5th highest per/game average in the NFL, behind only McCoy, Peterson, Charles and Forte. Pretty elite company.
  • Among the 13 1,000 yard rushers, Murray had the highest per carry average, 5.2 yards per carry.
  • Among the 13 1,000 yard rushers, Murray was dead last in carries, 217. He was actually 17th in rushing attempts in the NFL.
  • As a team, the Cowboys were tied for 7th in yards per carry with Chicago. However, they were only 24th in yards per game, mostly due to being 31st in rushing attempts, a measly 21 attempts per game.
  • The passing offense was really only middling, ranking 14th in yards per game.

The Cowboys this season had a shaky defense, to put it mildly. That defense, and it’s coordinator, deserve a full share of blame. The QBs and their penchant for late game turnovers, also deserve a full share, but let’s pass some blame around to whoever is calling the plays. It’s not news that the defense wasn’t good, it’s not news that your starter is prone to big mistakes at the end of games. Why not run the ball more?

Last night, Demarco Murray ran 17 times, for just 51 yards. Granted, it was not a great game. Philly, like everyone else, figured the Cowboys would run and let Orton manage the game. They stacked the box, and forced Orton to throw the ball to beat them. Orton had success doing just that, so much so that the Cowboys pretty much abandoned the running game in what was still a very close game.

Look, Kyle Orton, much like Tony Romo, was great for 58 minutes, but when you’re offensive game plan involves having him throw 46 passes, eventually something bad is going to happen. The lack of any offensive balance continues every single week with this team. I guess it’s just more exciting to let your QB be a gunslinger and line up with an empty backfield any time you’re even one score behind in the second half, but maybe we should see what happens when we stick to the running game a bit more. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up with a lead and killing the clock instead of always in a situation where an interception is more likely than not.