The Dallas Cowboys have been lacking a power running game since Emmett Smith left. It was hoped that Marion Barber would step into this role after being drafted and he has shown flashes of sheer power in games, but the offensive design for him was never a fit. Barber needs to get 25 touches a game and wear a team down. The problem was the Dallas Offensive line became offensive over the past couple of years and it further burdened Quarterback Tony Romo to make plays-nevermind that there wasn’t a solid receiver to help out until Miles Austin showed up in Kansas City and Roy Williams decided to put stick em on his gloves. Dallas became a pass first team and in doing so became a predictable offense. Their defense that once was solid under Wade Phillips was not getting any support from the offense and Wade paid the price with his job.
Overall the team had become soft. The Cowboys have historically been viewed as a technical team and were not a bunch of fiery warriors under Tom Landry, but that changed under Jimmy Johnson as he challenged his teams mentally and physically on a daily basis. It showed on the field because that team was one bad quarter away from winning four straight Super Bowls.
Ever since then Owner Jerry Jones has been searching for that same combination. Three years ago, Jerry Jones named Jason Garrett, Troy Aikman’s old backup as Offensive Coordinator before even hiring Wade Phillips as Head Coach. We now know why. After being named Interim Head Coach after Wade’s dismissal after Green Bay humiliated Dallas fans across the globe, Cowboy fans were introduced to a younger, red haired version of Jimmy Johnson.
This draft proved a return to the old way of doing things. This years draft yielded three very large offensive lineman, one corner, a Butkus award finalist, a receiver, a fullback and only the fifth Big 12 player to score 60 touchdowns in his collegiate career. Gee, I wonder what is on Jason Garrett’s mind? It is time for smash mouth football, running between the tackles, dominating the line of scrimmage, moving the chains with the tight end, big plays in the passing game and eating up the clock with runners who know how to get in the end zone. Sounds like 1995 again.
True Cowboy fans will remember that Troy and Boys would throw often in the first quarter, to get the linebackers off of the ball. Once that was accomplished it became a choice off death by Emmitt or death by Novacek, Irvin and Harper. There was no way to match up. If we assume that Doug Free will stay at left tackle after a strong first year there, then young Tyron Smith goes to right tackle, then Arkin from Missouri State at 6-5 moves to guard (where he played last year) and Nagy from Wisconsin does the same. Now we have depth on the line and we can spell Davis and Kosier to keep them fresh so we can clear lanes for the running backs late in the season. The outside positions are fine and if we can keep Dez Bryant from flying off the handle, then Dallas offensively can be pretty good this year-barring too many injuries.
One thing I don’t think we have to worry about is the team being ready to play. Garrett got everyone’s attention last year with his change in practice styles and now I think the team will be focused week to week unlike the first half of last season. I expect that if the NFL and Players can settle this stupid dispute soon, we could move into training camp looking pretty strong. The draft this year was not exciting but it was a good one because it provided depth and created competition at every position.
Just like Jimmy Johnson would like it.