During Monday’s news conference Bill Parcells said that the Cowboys rushing game ranks in the middle of the NFL pack. Factually Parcells was correct. But what about reality? In reality, do the Cowboys have an average ground attack? I don’t think so.
You see, if you measure the success of your ground game by total rushing yards there seems to be nothing wrong with the Cowboys game. The 1271 yards they have gained on the ground puts them 15th in the NFL in total yards rushing. That’s basically right in the middle of the pack.
But, I think a better measure of a team’s rushing attack is their average yards per carry. The Cowboys are averaging 3.4 yards per carry. That puts them almost at the bottom of the league. The only teams worse are Arizona, Green Bay and Carolina.
This leads me to 2 questions: Why are they at the bottom? And, how are they on top of the NFC East with such a bad number?
Well, the answer to both of these questions is the same. Game Plan! Bill Parcells likes to control the clock. Bill Parcells hates turnovers. Bill Parcells hates mistakes. Bill Parcells is one of the most conservative coaches in the league. Bill Parcells is stubborn. And, most of all Bill Parcells has a philosophy that his working right now.
You see, when a Bill Parcells team runs the ball they are trying to accomplish a couple goals. Obviously, they are trying to gain yards. But, almost as important, they are trying to eat up clock and control time of possession. And, so far it is working.
Does this mean that Parcells is scared of his defense? No, not at all. But it is fairly hard for an opponent to score if they do not have the ball. The Cowboys lead the league in Time of Possession with over 33 minutes per game.
Bill Parcells seems to be scared of his offensive line. And I don’t really blame him. He’s got 2 very raw tackles that tend to be undependable when it comes to protecting the passer for any extended length of time. And, without good protection, Drew Bledsoe is toast.
So, instead of trying to outscore their opponents, the Dallas Cowboys depend on controlling the ball and the clock. This brand of football may not be the most fun to watch. But it is putting Ws on the board and that is what it is all about.