Monday, September 16, 2013
Jason Garrett still committed to run game
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING, Texas -- The day after a 17-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he was still committed to the running game and keeping DeMarco Murray as the starter.
The Cowboys rushed for 37 yards on 16 plays in Sunday's loss and didn't attempt a run in the fourth quarter.
Garrett spent the bulk of his nearly 20-minute news conference defending the rushing attack that ranks 27th in yards per attempt (3.5), 19th in total rushing yards (111) and 21st in yards per game (55.5).
DeMarco Murray and Dallas have been dismal running the football in the season's first two weeks.
The Cowboys are one of just nine NFL teams without a rushing touchdown.
"It's a combination of a lot of different things," Garrett said Monday regarding the run game that finished 31st last season. "It starts up front in the run game, not just the offensive line but the tight end and the receivers getting involved blocking the secondary assignments. Certainly the runner has a lot to do with the success of the running game, seeing the holes, getting comfortable in the running game, see what the defense is trying to do and finding the softness in the defense. So we just never really got the running game going in the ball game. We have to continue to be persistent with it."
There seemed to be issues with Murray's abilities to hit holes and break tackles. Last season, Murray was tied for 10th in the NFL with eight broken tackles. The league leader, according to Stats Inc., was Washington's Alfred Morris with 22. Murray wasn't credited with a broken tackle heading into the Week 2 game against Kansas City.
In Sunday's game, Murray's first run was a 2-yard loss, then after a 53-yard pass completion to Dez Bryant, the Cowboys went back to Murray again and he gained just 1 yard. In the first quarter, the Cowboys rushed five times, with Murray's longest run going for 6 yards. He carried the ball consecutive times just twice, and hinted after the game it's hard to find a rhythm when he's not getting repeat carries and there's numerous passes called.
"Everyone just needs to do their job and run the play that’s called," Garrett said. "There's no question as a runner, you want to give them a chance to get a sweat going, a little rhythm going. It's like runners throughout history. They tend to get better when they're feeling the game a little bit. We just have to give him opportunities to do that."
After a Murray 2-yard run in the third quarter, the Cowboys ran 18 consecutive pass plays to finish the game. Garrett conceded there needs to be balance with the offense, something Murray also pointed out after the loss.
"Well, he's been a good football player for us," Garrett said. "We simply have to recommit to running the football and make sure we practice it and make sure we take it to the game, and he’s a big part of our running game. Has been. We've played our best offensive football around here when he's been a big part of what we're doing. So we've just got to get it going."