In the tradition of the classic Southern Rock song "Gimme Three Steps" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, here are three steps for Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator, Jason Garrett to take in order to get the Cowboys offense back to the juggernaut it looked like for the first 13 games of the 2007 season.
Garrett could have more pressure on him than Head Coach Wade Phillips does heading into the 2009 campaign. Just a year ago the Cowboys re-signed Garret to be one of the highest paid assistants in the league and the unofficial "Head Coach—in waiting."
Boy how things can change; after a 9-7 season and scoring only 362 points (10th in the NFC) not to mention his well-publicized meeting with T.O. and other Cowboys receivers over Jason Witten and his dominance of the offensive game plan, Garrett now must right the ship and do it fast.
Plus, he will have to do it with the playmaker Owens who is off to Buffalo.
So how can Garrett turn things around in the tough NFC East? Here are three steps that if the Cowboys take should result in a powerful offense that will have all the fans in the new Cowboys Stadium believing a Super Bowl run is in the cards.
1. Run the Ball More
1. Run the Ball MoreAs hard to believe as it might seem with Tony Romo and Jason Witten on the offensive side of the ball, there is no doubt the strength of the unit is in the running back position. The Cowboys have three running backs 25 years old and younger Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.
Last season, the trio combined for over 1,600 yards and a 4.5 yard per carry average while scoring 12 touchdowns. Yet they only carried the ball 360 times compared to 578 passing attempts. With arguably the best group of running backs in the game they deserve more than 37 percent of the offensive snaps.
2. More Two-Tight-End Sets
2. More Two-Tight-End SetsBut not in the way you think. This is not a recommendation to line up in the traditional two tight end formation and just pound the ball. Again the philosophy here is more in line with step one with getting your best players more involved.
By running two tight end sets you get not only Jason Witten on the field but you get second year tight end MartellusBennett out there at the same time.
With the departure of Owens the receiving corps appears weaker than in the past. By inserting Bennett it makes it possible to use Witten in the slot in a Dallas Clark like role. But don’t underestimate Bennett he has the ability to stretch the field and with both he and Witten out there the opponents will have a multitude of matchup problems.
3. Roll Out the "Wildcat" Package
3. Roll Out the "Wildcat" Package
Once again with the idea of getting as many playmakers on the field as possible the Cowboys need to install their version of the "wildcat" formation and make it a part of their regular offensive game plans.
The package became popular a couple seasons ago at the University of Arkansas when they used it in order to get both their top running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones on the field at the same time. Yes that same Felix Jones now residing in the Cowboys backfield.
The Cowboys also have two wide receivers on the team that saw significant amount of time at the quarterback position in college. Both Patrick Crayton and Isaiah Stanback played quarterback in college and would be a natural fit for the wildcat package.
Granted these aren’t brand new ideas and I never claimed to be a rocket scientist but as a 10 year Cowboys season ticket-holder who has re-upped for tickets in the brand new stadium, I have sat through too many games that look the same. Try to run once, maybe twice, and when that doesn’t work, have Romo drop back to pass.
The Cowboys have the offensive weapons to be one of the most dangerous teams to match up against but for too long we make it easy on the opposing players and coaches to prepare and adjust to our game plan. It is time to use the entire arsenal we have and it can be done in three easy steps.