Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray questioned the lack of running plays called in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. They only ran the ball 16 times in the game including 5 in the third quarter and zero run plays in the fourth quarter of a close game. It has been addressed by quarterback Tony Romo who said running the ball makes everyone’s job easier. Jason Garrett addressed it earlier this week.
Now, the man who calls the plays, offensive coordinator Bill Callahan addressed it and explained the play calls in last Sunday’s game.
“I would tell you that we are definitely working at every end to get our run game up and going, and it’s not because we don’t like to run,” Callahan said, via ESPN Dallas. “We’d love to run the football. But there were opportunities in the [Kansas City] game where we tried to take advantage of the players we have. We have some great players in Dez Bryant and Miles Austin and Jason Witten, and we’re just trying to spread the ball around — and sometimes in doing so, again, we want to take advantage of some matchups. So that’s one of the things that’s going on. And secondly, we’ve been in some no-huddle situations that dictated a little bit more pass than run. I think it will all balance out in the end.”
When the Cowboys do run they haven’t particularly been effective and average only 3.2 yards per carry. DeMarco Murray’s running style has been listed as one potential reason for the lack of success. Another has been the offensive line, which has been a point of weakness with injuries and a rotating personnel.
“We like our line,” Callahan said. “Our line is physical, but we’ve got to do a better job calling it. I’ve got to do a better job personally, and that’s my responsibility and one that I own up to and one that we all want to get better at. But we’re working hard. Our guys still believe. It’s still early on in the season to build our running game and get to where we want to go. But as we all know, talk is cheap. We’ve got to put it to action.”
I think if the Cowboys can stop rotating the right guards in and out and put Brian Waters in their full time that will help sort things out. Calling screen passes and short passes doesn’t help spread the defense to create opportunities for the run game to succeed. Defenses can cheat up knowing that the passes are either going to be short or it is a run play.