One of the subplots that got us through some of the quietest moments of the football offseason was the Cowboys’ decision to replace head coach Jason Garrett as their offensive play caller.
Bill Callahan took over the job after an extended dance between Garrett and owner Jerry Jones about whether or not there would be a change in who told Tony Romo what to run. Unsurprisingly, the man who signs the checks won the battle and Garrett ceded control of the responsibility.
Sunday night was the first regular season game under the new arrangement and the Cowboys called 51 pass plays against 21 running plays, which looked a lot like some of the game plans that got Garrett criticized when he was making the calls. It was actually slightly more pass-happy than Garrett’s days, the Cowboys ran the ball 34 percent of the time last season as opposed to 29 percent against the Giants, and Garrett sounded like some of his old critics when discussing what he’d like to see in the future.
“We’d like to be more balanced,” Garrett said, via Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com. “I thought Bill did a really good job in the ballgame calling plays and giving us a chance to move the football, but we would like to be a more balanced football team. At the end of the day it’s not about, ‘OK we get a stat sheet and you want it to be 30 runs, 30 passes.’ That’s not how we look at it. We want to be able to run the ball more and more effectively, particularly at the end of the game when we’re up a couple scores. We need to be able to hand the ball to DeMarco Murray and run the game out. We didn’t do that as well as we need to and we’ll continue to work on being better at that.”
Murray finished the night with 86 yards on 20 carries, four more than he averaged last season, and gained 32 yards on five carries in the fourth quarter, so it isn’t like they couldn’t get anything working in the run game. Ultimately, that’s what really matters. In a perfect world, you’d have exact balance and everything works but it does you no good to force a more even split if it comes at the overall effectiveness of the offense.