By formation, Cowboys run defense hurt

IRVING, Texas -- For the second time in the preseason, the Cowboys’ run defense took a pretty good hit.

In the opener against Denver, the Cowboys allowed 119 yards on 30 carries with the No. 1 defense giving up 40 yards on six carries on the Broncos’ first drive. After the game, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said the Broncos ran a lot out of three-wide receiver formations, which caught the defense off guard.

On Saturday in Minnesota, the Vikings ran for 175 yards on 27 carries, led by Adrian Peterson’s 81 yards on 14 carries. The Vikings ran out of a lot of two-fullback, two-tight end sets that also caught the Cowboys off guard.

“They actually came out in some personnel we hadn’t seen them run a lot before this,” linebacker Anthony Spencer said, “so we had to make quick checks to get things corrected, and once we did that things were a lot better against the run.”

It should not be a sound-the-alarm moment, but there has to be some concern heading into the first two weeks of the regular season against two solid running teams in the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers.

“You talk about a lot of different things -- getting in the right gap, playing the scheme the right way. And at the end of it, you’ve got to tackle that guy [Peterson], too,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s proven that he’s one of the elite runners in the league over the last four or five years. So it’s a good challenge for us. I thought we did some things well, and other times, I thought they did a good job running it.”