Dallas Cowboys Coaches Can Make Romo's Life Easier with a Strong Running Attack

Michael AnelloContributor IOctober 4, 2011

Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones runs by San Francisco 49ers defenders on Sunday, September 18, 2011.
Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones runs by San Francisco 49ers defenders on Sunday, September 18, 2011.Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is criticized, picked apart, and looked at with the intense hawk-like glare of the local and national media both on and off the field.

Since he is the general of "America's Team" he assumes the pressures of a rich history full of Hall of Famers, Super Bowl trophies, and the silhouette of former head coach Tom Landry.

Romo, more than any other current quarterback, is dissected on the field and critiqued off the field. It's hard to think of another player in the NFL who wins the praise of the media one week, and is in the journalists' doghouse the next week.

Romo is often called out for his ability to seemingly give games away by throwing balls to areas of the field that have no business even leaving his hand. The Cowboys coaches, in particular head coach Jason Garrett, can use a piece of his past to limit Romo's turnovers; the run game.

When Garrett was the backup quarterback for Troy Aikman and the 90's dynasty, he watched tailback Emmitt Smith run over around, and through opponents.

In the two losses this season to the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions, the Cowboys had 10-7 and 20-3 leads at halftime, respectively. Dallas extended their week 1 lead over New York to 24-10 in the fourth quarter before the meltdown.

What is the intelligent call with a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter? Pound the rock and run down the clock. If the score stays the same, you still win. Instead, Romo dove head first and the football was recovered by the Jets.

Then, inexplicably, he rolled right and threw it right into Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis' arms. In Week 4 against the Lions, he threw three second-half interceptions, giving Detroit wideout Calvin "Megatron" Johnson to make it look like "Madden" and destroy the Cowboys defense.

The Cowboys running backs have been lackluster all season. They haven't been able to find a rhythm. There is not a better time to hand them the football than when you are trying to preserve a lead in the second half.

With an effective running game, Romo, a fast quarterback, can roll out on play-action passes and bootlegs for big gains. He will not take as many punishing hits from defenders who can tee off on him, and it forces the opposition to face a balanced offense.

This brings us back full circle to Smith. With plays like the HB Lead Draw, HB Blast, and Iso, Smith not only closed ball games but was the go-to-guy in an offense with "The Playmaker."

It's not that Garrett passes too often. It's more of a case of him abandoning the run too early because it isn't getting huge gains. But that is the epitome of a strong running attack.

In the first half, when the defense is energized, the back will get 3 or 4 yards a carry. If an offense continues to run the ball in the second half, the defense is tired and those 3- or 4-yard gains turn into explosive, home-run-threat plays from Felix Jones.