Can Tony Romo commit to the run?

August, 13, 2014
8/13/14
9:00
AM ET
OXNARD, Calif. -- The general manager, head coach and offensive coordinator have all firmly vowed that the Dallas Cowboys would commit to the run this season.

What's the man who ultimately has the final say on every play call think about that? Franchise quarterback Tony Romo says he's all for it.

Romo
"I think what you find is a misconception sometimes that quarterbacks just want to throw," Romo said. "It's far easier to win when you run the ball well. If we can run the ball, and I envision us being able to do that, it's going to take a lot off a lot of different areas in the football team, so I think that's a huge thing we're trying to do is create the environment where we can rely on that in the situations we want to and just be able to continue. To me, that's important.

"Obviously, you want to be a balanced team and have teams not understand what's coming, but a big part of that is being able to run the football. I like the way we've been doing that."

The Cowboys' commitment to the run was nothing but lip service last season despite DeMarco Murray's success when Romo handed him the ball. Dallas had the second-fewest rushing attempts in the NFL despite ranking tied for seventh in yards per carry at 4.5, including 5.2 for Murray.

From the front office on down, the Cowboys recognize that an offensive line featuring recent first-round picks Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin is the team's greatest strength. A commitment to the run would relieve pressure from Romo, who is coming off back surgery, and a defense that ranked last in the league last season.

Passing game coordinator Scott Linehan has stressed the importance of running the ball when the Cowboys want to instead of allowing the opposing defense to dictate to them.

That would require Romo to stick with running plays even against defensive looks that load up the box. He usually has the option to switch to a pass play, which resulted in a disastrous interception late in the Cowboys' meltdown against the Green Bay Packers last season.

"We always talk about the one or two times where it obviously went negative," Romo said. "But over the course of your career, for every one there were nine that were very successful that we just don't talk about. You guys don't know we checked them, and they produced a first down to win the game.

"It's not necessarily going from run to pass. It can be run to run, pass to pass and pass to run. I think that you just need to be good and execute at a high level with whatever direction you go. Long story short, you want to be able to run the ball when you really feel like you're in a tough situation or you get eight-man boxes or when it gets tough. If you can do that, you're ahead of the game. I think we have that ability, so I'm excited about that."

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