Balance, or at least the appearance of it, might be the most important thing to an NFL offense. The Dallas Cowboys did rely heavily, as always, on the arm of Tony Romo to pick up their 36-31 win over the New York Giants, but in the future DeMarco Murray, who when healthy is one of the best running backs in the league, should be a little bit more involved.
Murray finished the game with 20 carries for 86 yards, but considering how fast the Dallas Cowboys’ offense moved; how many plays and snaps they had in the victory, you’d expect Murray to get a few more touches.
Jason Garrett is a pass-happy coach, that’s not new to anyone. Last season the Cowboys ran the ball 34% of the time, amounting to 355 rushing plays, with Murray carrying the ball 161 times (injuries, again). That number of rushing attempts was the second fewest in the NFL.
So when Murray is healthy, you’d expect to see more calls that give him the ball. He averaged 4.8 yards per play during his career, and it doesn’t take a scientist to know Romo has been waiting for some run-threat next to him for a very long time, even if the offensive line does seem to be a bit better than before.
The Cowboys called 51 pass plays against the Giants (including the two times Romo was sacked), and only 21 run plays. Do the math, and you’ll get that they ran the ball only 29.1% of the time, even less than last season. While head coached don’t go into a game thinking – “… I’ll run the ball 60% of the time …”, instead making their calls according to the developing game,at some point, like in past seasons, the Cowboys are hurt by the fact that the next play they call is almost always a pass.
Bill Callahan is now calling the shots and the plays on offense. One of the thing that was easy to notice was Romo keeping things very simple, 33 of his attempts were for 5 yards or fewer downfield (67%). Murray did enjoy that with 8 catches for 39 yards, but the Cowboys need more balance if this is going to be the season Romo is no longer blame for turning the ball over, late collapses and for not making the playoffs.