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Dallas’ Debate: Run Or Pass?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 14, 2010 – 6:51 am

NFL teams in recent seasons have gone away from using 1 RB exclusively to more of a RB tandem approach. A great model of this is in Carolina, where the Panthers have DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Another good example is the Miami Dolphins, who have Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.

Another team equipped to capitalize on this trend is the same team the Vikings will host this Sunday at Mall of America Field – the Dallas Cowboys. They have 3 talented RBs in Marion Barber III, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. But as good as those 3 RBs are, the Cowboys remain a pass-heavy team through the first 4 games of 2010.

No NFL team has a higher pass-to-run ratio than Dallas, who passes 66.4% of the time. Even with that talented trio of RBs, the Cowboys rank just 24th in rushing. And only 1 of their 8 TDs this season has come on the ground.

Despite the imbalance those statistics display, Cowboys Head Coach Wade Phillips doesn’t sound concerned about the playcalling or production.

“I thought we ran the ball real well against Tennessee this last game,” Phillips said on Wednesday. “I think Felix [Jones] averaged seven yards a carry and he had over 100 yards. We’ve had good averages in some of the games we’ve played as far as the running game is concerned, but we are strong throwing the ball also. I think you’ve got to utilize your attributes.”

Phillips is right. The imbalance in run-to-pass ratio hasn’t yielded poor offensive results. Dallas ranks 2nd in yards per game and they’re putting up a respectable 20.3 points per contest. On top of that, the Cowboys feature a talented passer in Tony Romo and several talented receivers in TE Jason Witten and WRs Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Roy Williams.

The Vikings in recent seasons have been an elite run-stopping defense, ranking #1 in that department from 2006-08 and then #2 in 2009. But last week against the Jets, the Vikings allowed 155 rushing yards and for the season they’re giving up 102.3 per game, which is middle of the road in NFL standards.

So how will the Cowboys attack the Vikings? Will they stick to their guns and attack through the air? Or will they try to crack the Vikings rush defense and utilize that talented trio of RBs?

“They play a lot of eight-man front,” Phillips said of the Vikings defense. “We’re going to throw it more and take advantage of that. I think to be a good team offensively, you’ve got to do both and if they back off, you run it, and if [they] put everybody up there, you throw it. That’s what we’ve tried to do and that’s the way we’ve been since I’ve been here.”

Romo was asked by Twin Cities reporters during a conference call to evaluate the Vikings secondary. He was complementary of the group but also pointed out a potential weakness the Cowboys might try to exploit.

“They do a good job,” Romo said. “They play some man-to-man; zone, they sprinkle in a little bit. They can be a little more aggressive because of their front sometimes. You know you have to watch out for that. I think there’s an opportunity there for some double move stuff on the safeties and things of that nature, so we’ll see.

“We’re going to go in and do what we’ve been doing, some of the things that were moving the ball. We’ll just see how the game goes. It kind of depends on a specific week and what the defense is giving us.”

Sitting with a 1-3 record, I’m guessing the Vikings will look to give the Cowboys nothing. But it will be interesting to see how Dallas attacks a Vikings defense that has been nothing short of stellar so far in 2010.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 25 Comments »


25 Responses to “Dallas’ Debate: Run Or Pass?”

  1. By fire childress on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    i think this debate is a little too late. nfl network says the cowboys vs Vikings game is a playoff game, as the loser doesn’t make playoffs. we all know the Vikings are incapable of winning the next 9 out of 11 games to get a wildcard, expecially with our schedule. if Chilly is around next year, i’ll be reallly surprised and mad, he is definitely the worse coach in the nfl

  2. By fire childress on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    mike, i don’t think you see the dire situation here, we are 1-3 and one the brink of elimination and your writing a pass or run article? get real or find a new job

  3. By Woodboat on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    Dang, dude. How far are we out of the division, 1 loss? If the Vikes can win this weekend, everything will look better. IF the offense can get rolling a little bit, we’ll be fine. The Vikes season softens up a little bit at the end, and we should be able to finish the season strong. We just gotta win THIS game. That has to be the approach. THere isn’t a team in the conf. the VIkes CAN’T beat, they just have to get their heads together. No sweat, just do it…..

  4. By fire childress on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    and how many games have the vikings lost in the past they should of won? alot and most of it is due to coaching. last time i looked Chilly is still coaching

  5. By rocksalt on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    There is a saying:
    “Hope springs eternal”
    At this point, I hope we can play well. I hope we can win. I hope we can make less mistsakes. I have plenty of hope.
    Don’t know if I would bet on a win, though…….

  6. By lisa on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    Just shut up about the fire coach Childress thing..I’m getting sick of it.. We have what we have right now and nothing is going to change.. We know your feelings just by looking at your username, so leave it at that..or just find a new team or something.. Just getting tired of it. And I totally agree with you Woodboat. This division is wide open. Go Vikes!!!

  7. By fire childress on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    i have been a season ticket holder for 18 years, so i have alot of money invested in this team, so i have a right to give my opinion. until you start investing money in this team, put your money were your mouth is Lisa.

  8. By guestfan on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    Vikings are 1-3 behind a 40-something guy with only ONE ring in TWENTY SEASONS!!!

  9. By guestfan on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    Call me when Favre doesn’t yet again take things into his own hands and get intercepted at the very end of a meaningful game.

  10. By fire childress on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    we are 1-3 behind a coach who doesn’t know a thing about playcalling, thats more scary then anything else

  11. By Ry guy on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    I wouldn’t be to worried right now. The Vikings still controll their own destiny for one, if they win every game from here on out they are guareteed to win the division because they are only two games back of the bears and Packers. I think that this weeks game will be huge, but the game against the Packers in a few weeks is a MUST WIN, because they play the Packers away.

    The Vikings really got to win the close games tho. Every game the Vikings lost so far this year has come down to one play where if they would have made the play they would have won. For instance, look at the Favre incompletion to Harvin last week at the end of the game. If he would have completed that they would have won. The second week against the Dolphins, if AP would have gotten one more yard they would have won. What it will take for the Vikings is for them to start winning in convincing fashion like they did last year. I mean with Childress as head coach they seem to lose all the close ones, that is why they need to play like they did in week 3 agains the lions and how they played last yer.

  12. By vikingsniper205 on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    At what point and time are you going to bench favre…and play jackson……sometimes youth and agility is is better than experience and old.age…,favre is going to.put is in a loosing season

  13. By VAvikefan on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    He’s ALREADY put us in a losing season vikingsniper..smh. i’ve been a little uspset at the coaching this season because if that was tarvaris out there with 10 of the vikings 11 turnovers, he would have BEEN benched. if favre loses us this game against the cowboys, he BETTER get benched as well! How long will they tolerate this?

  14. By Eugene on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    Win!…nuff said!

  15. By Paul on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    Why does it seem like when the road gets bad every 1 wants to point the finger at brad or brett why not just have faith 2 win

  16. By soldier1986 on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    @guestfan now your hatng on favre because he only has one ring? last i looked tarkenton went to the superbowl what 4 times and still couldnt get one. culpepper couldnt get one. dude just shut your mouth. look at marino. he never won one

  17. By dryes on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    no wonder the vikings manage to lose to the lesser team, firechildress. They have loser fans like you. If you want to support the team you should move away. Loser

  18. By dryes on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    btw I agree that childress hasn;t proven to be a playcaller. until he is fired ( if he is) yapping about it will only fuel the losing energy of MN

  19. By Purple Nation on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    I do agree with the fire childress guy as there was a reason Andy Reid wouldn’t allow chilly to take over on any offensive decisions when he used to be an offensive coordinator there!

    Skol Vikings!!!

  20. By Woodboat on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    I didn’t want to come across as a Childress fan. Heck, I don’t like Andy Reid as a coach, either. I thought Childress was a bad hire from the moment I heard about it, and my opinion hasn’t changed. He is bad on gameday, and that’s a fact.

    But we are only 1 loss out of the division lead, and the players haven’t forgotten how to play the game. Is everything clicking right now? Heck no, but it’s still early. They weren’t clicking offensively early last season either, but they had a cream puff schedule at the time. Don’t abandon ship, is all I’m saying.

  21. By Woodboat on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    @Fire Childress… Don’t take this personally, dude, but the Vikings organization and players don’t know you and don’t care whether you have loyally invested your hard earned pay for the last 18 years or not. If you get tired of the lack of success and give up your seat at the end of the season, someone else will snap that seat up before you can fire off an inflamitory blog post about it, and they will still be getting their cash.

    Teams don’t care about INDIVIDUAL fans, just that they have fans. With that being said, they will ALWAYS have fans, win or lose. I feel your pain, tho, dude, I really do.

  22. By chaos on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    lets go vikes! kick cowboy butt

  23. By TMAN on Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

    “fire childress” I am no childress fan and I love Brett Favre, but explain to me how Childress play calling caused Favre to fumble twice. That is what cost the Vikings the game. IN your 18 years as a season ticket holder, how many coaches have you demanded fired. I have been a VIKINGS fan all my life(35 years) for as long as I can remember, a group of idiots has always been calling for a new head coach. PLAYERS NEED TO MAKE PLAYS!

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