- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Gary Horton's post on planned scheme changes for the Dallas Cowboys in 2013 is interesting throughout, and if you have the Insider subscription, I recommend reading it. If you don't, I recommend getting the Insider subscription and then reading it. I could do a whole post on the defensive side of Gary's post and his belief that the move to the Tampa 2 will naturally raise the takeaway total. But instead, I'm going to focus on the offensive portion of the post and Gary's belief that giving Bill Callahan play-calling duties will lead to more running:
Dallas had its fewest rushing attempts ever in 2012, partly as a result of injuries at running back and the offensive line, and partly as a result of marginal blocking by the guys up front. Callahan is a proponent of a physical run game that can give this offense much needed balance and take some pressure off Romo to not become "pass-happy" every week.
Perhaps. But as Gary goes on to point out, that all depends on the health of starting running back DeMarco Murray and the health and effectiveness of the interior offensive linemen. There are also strong indicators that the Cowboys plan to move away from a traditional fullback and use more "12" personnel formations, with multiple tight ends and a single running back, so a lot of this will depend on the way they adjust to that (as well as how the tight ends block).
I guess I can see why the connection is made between Callahan's new role and a potential increase in rushing attempts. And I'm sure greater balance on offense is among Dallas' 2013 goals. But I wouldn't fret that the Cowboys are all of a sudden going to become a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust running team. They did spend the early part of the draft adding passing-game weapons for Romo, and with guys like him, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten on the team, it'd be foolish to move away from the downfield passing game. If the plan is to alleviate the extent to which they have to lean on that downfield passing game, fine. But I wouldn't assume the Cowboys offense is all of a sudden going to look like previous offenses Callahan has run just because he's now the playcaller. Head coach Jason Garrett will remain heavily involved in making game plans, and his influence is likely to remain stronger than Callahan's in the Cowboys' offensive philosophy and plans.