Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain

Chat recap: More pressure on offense

May, 30, 2014
May 30
9:00
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Sean Lee was a large part of Wednesday’s chat.

Everybody wants to know where the Cowboys will look for his replacement. Right now, they’ll look on campus. If they don’t like what they see during the organized team activities, they’ll look off campus.

We also talked about why Lee was practicing at all and the contractual issues that come from his injury.

Dez Bryant’s comments also came up. As did the importance of this season for Morris Claiborne. To read the full chat, click here.

But I want to expand a little on this question and answer:
Hanson (DC): As stated the offense is the way this team wins, but does the offense become more ball control trying to establish long drives with short passing game to help keep the defense off the field or do they just say heck with it and try to score 40 a game?

Todd Archer: I understand the thinking, but if you try to ball control your way through games you won't score points and that keeps other teams within a score of hitting a big play to change things. I think you have to attack early in games to get a lead and then you control it late with the running game.

In another life, I covered the Miami Dolphins when Dave Wannstedt was the coach. The Dolphins were loaded on defense with Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Patrick Surtain, Trace Armstrong, Sam Madison, Brock Marion, Tim Bowens and Daryl Gardner.

It was the year after Dan Marino and Jimmy Johnson left, and Jay Fiedler was the quarterback, Lamar Smith at running back with Oronde Gadsden and Leslie Shepherd at receiver.

That team went 11-5 and won a playoff game with a limited offense. But Chan Gailey did a great job of coaxing every little bit out of it.

With the Cowboys, I get the feeling Rod Marinelli is going to have to coax every little thing out of the defense in 2014.

And Scott Linehan is going to have to attack on offense. I don’t think the Cowboys can become a ground-and-pound type of team. Yes, that keeps the other team off the field, but it also turns potentially dominating games into close affairs. If the Cowboys look to win games 21-10 with a ball control offense, I think they would be fooling themselves.

I think they need an offense with Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Terrance Williams and three first-round picks on the offensive line to come out firing. The key will be early leads. That will make life easier for a defense that will need a lot of help. If they can make opposing teams one-dimensional, that’s a good thing for a defense that couldn’t really stop either dimension in 2013.

Once they build the lead, then that’s when the Cowboys need to run the ball to kill the clock. The Cowboys have had a couple of games in recent years in which they built leads but couldn’t close them out either because the offense couldn’t run out the clock or the defense couldn’t stop anybody or both (Detroit, 2010; Green Bay, 2013 come to mind).

Even if Lee didn’t get hurt, the Cowboys were going to have to win games with their offense. Without Lee, there will be even more pressure on the offense.

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