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Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Cowboys get a lot from 'empty' look

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys broke out their “empty” package more times in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos than they had all season and had a ton of success.

Tony Romo completed 12 of 14 passes for 272 yards out of empty and was sacked only once. His shortest completion out of either a four-wide receiver, one-tight end, no- running back set or three-wide receiver, two-tight end, no-running back set was for 10 yards. He had four completions of 26 yards or more.

Coach Jason Garrett has lauded the offensive line play this season, saying it’s the strongest they have been in years. They have been fairly stout up the middle with Travis Frederick flanked by Ronald Leary, Brian Waters or Mackenzy Bernadeau at guard.

The faith the Cowboys have in their line could mean more “empty” looks.

“That’s been a huge difference for our football team, is the ability of those guys to block and handle the one-on-one matchups and the different things that defensive lines present you,” Garrett said, “and it really shows up throughout our passing game.”

The spread field gives more room for Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten. It also increases the workload for Cole Beasley underneath.

“The structure of what we’re trying to do in our passing game, whether it’s empty or anything else, is to give the quarterback answers,” Garrett said. “Whatever they do want to play, he finds the right answer and you attack them. I think empty was a good illustration of that [Sunday].”