IRVING, Texas – Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan, the man in charge of the NFL’s bottom-ranked rushing attack, believes the Cowboys would run the ball better if they’d run it more often.
“Any good running attack that I’ve been around, the years that we’ve led the league in rushing at the various places I’ve been at, it’s basically kind of a war of attrition where you wear down an opponent and your attempts increase in the second half,” Callahan said. “A lot of your production arises out of your second-half performance
“So we start off the games and we’re running it and you’re trying to get in your groove and rhythm and then you’re kind of thrown out of kilter because you’re behind pretty quickly and you’re in a catch-up mode, so things change. You just don’t get the number of attempts that you want.”
That sounds logical, and as Callahan reminded, he has great credibility on the subject. The Oakland Raiders led the NFL in rushing in 2000 with Callahan as the offensive coordinator, and he was the offensive line coach for the NFL’s top-ranked rushing offense in 2009 with the New York Jets.
Too bad, in the case of this season’s Cowboys, the stats don’t really support Callahan’s theory.
The Cowboys have rushed for 443 yards on 124 carries in the first halves, a dismal average of 3.6 yards a pop. That drops to 3.5 in second halves, when the Cowboys have gained 423 yards on 120 carries.
“It’s hard to create a rhythm or an efficiency if you don’t have the number of attempts behind you to try to push that efficiency number up,” Callahan said.
It’s also hard to commit to such an inefficient running game.
Maybe Callahan is right about being more effective with more carries, although it’s impossible to know if the Cowboys keep falling behind.
But the reverse is definitely true: The Cowboys would run the ball more often if they did it more effectively.