Tony Romo has attempted 98 passes (47, 51) in two losses this season. Last season in which the Cowboys went 11-5, Romo averaged 34.4 passes per game. The Cowboys were ranked 13th in passing attempts per game. He averaged 32 attempts per victory and 39 attempts during losses. In this case, more is not always better. The Cowboys need to treat Tony Romo like a prized baseball pitcher and limit his attempts to 35 per game.
This season, eleven teams are currently averaging more than 30 rushing attempts per game. The top five leading rushers are averaging 23.5 attempts per game. As a team, the Cowboys are ranked 30th, only averaging 21 rushing attempts per game and 3.3 yards per attempt. The Buccaneers are also averaging 3.3 yards per attempt, but they have averaged 32 rushing attempts per game or 22 more than the Cowboys, plus the Bucs are also 2-0. This means, even if your running game seems ineffective, you should still continue to do it.
Last year the Cowboys ranked 17th, finishing with an average of 27.2 rushing attempts per game. They tied for 2nd place with the Panthers, averaging 4.8 rushing yards per attempt. The run / pass ratio per game was 27.2 / 34.4. This season it's already an outrageous 21 / 49.5. It's inexcusable for a team getting the 2nd most rushing yards per carry to finish 17th in rushing attempts. The Jets rushed 607 times last year, averaging 37.9 attempts per game and 4.5 yards per attempt. Guess which team won the most playoff games?
If the Cowboys are going to be amongst the best teams in the league, it's obvious they need to run the football. They don't have to split the carries between Marion Barber and Felix Jones evenly. But a 17/17 workload division would be light years better than the current average of 9.5 / 7.5 (Barber / Jones) rushing attempts per game.
The blame surely lies on Jason Garrett's play calling. Every low scoring, poor offensive performance lends credibility to the complaints of our former #1 wide receiver Terrell Owens and to the Ravens' Ray Lewis who stated Garrett's offense make the Cowboys the easiest team in the league to prepare for. This is what you should expect when you hire an unqualified, inexperienced offensive coordinator.
Garrett was Troy Aikman's backup and his entire coaching career consisted of being a quarterback coach for two seasons in Miami (2005, 2006). In 2005, under Nick Saban, the QB was Gus Frerotte and Sage Rosenfels and they ended with a 9 - 7 record. In 2006, the QB's were Dante Culpepper, Cleo Lemon and Shane Matthews. They finished that season 6 - 10. Surely, Jerry Jones could have hired a top college coordinator of a pro-style offense, someone experienced and battle tested. Former college coaches did guide the Cowboys to Lombardi trophies.
Hopefully Jason Garrett will change his philosophy in time to save the season. If not, I predict we'll make headlines with new faces amongst the coaching staff, probably as soon as the bowl games are concluded.
Teams averaging 30 + rushing attempts per game - Falcons, Texans, Raiders, Chiefs, Dolphins, Steelers, Buccaneers, Broncos, Giants, Titans & Packers.
Leading rushers and average rushing attempts per game - Foster - HOU - 26, McFadden - OAK - 24, Peterson - MIN - 23.5, Mendenhall - PIT - 22.5, Johnson - TEN - 21.5.