Garrett agrees with critics about Cowboys’ lack of running game

Posted Monday, Sep. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Coach Jason Garrett agrees with the critics about the Dallas Cowboys’ lack of a running game, both in results and attempts.

“We have to run the ball more than 16 times in the game, and we have to be able to run it throughout the game,” Garrett said Monday at his press conference at Valley Ranch. “We just simply have to do a better job of that. We didn’t run the ball very well. Sixteen carries for 37 yards for just over 2 yards an attempt is not good enough.”

But Garrett was short on answers on how to fix it.

He said it just needs to get better and that the Cowboys want more attempts.

“Yesterday’s game, we were in some no-huddle situations for different reasons to attack the defense, to handle some of the third-down situations, to handle the crowd noise, and we simply threw the ball too much in those situations,” he said.

He acknowledged quarterback Tony Romo’s play calls at the line affected the run-pass balance.

“In some of the no-huddle situations, he was making those calls,” Garrett said. “Again, we simply have to do a better job simply calling more runs and having more balance.”

Garrett said running back DeMarco Murray and the other offensive positions are responsible for making the ground game work.

“Not just the offensive line, but the tight end and the receivers getting involved blocking the secondary assignments,” Garrett said. “Certainly the runner has a lot to do with the success of the running game, seeing the holes, getting comfortable in the running game, seeing what the defense is trying to do and finding the softness in the defense.”

The Cowboys ranked 25th in rushing yards before the Monday night game between the Bengals and Steelers. Last year, the Cowboys finished 31st in the league in rushing.

Asked about adding a fullback, Garrett said, “There aren’t that many fullbacks available that we think can upgrade our football team right now. We don’t think it’s really the most prominent issue. We just have to execute better.”

Claiborne penalty

Cornerback Morris Claiborne needed to show more poise on the third-down pass that resulted in a pass interference call, Jason Garrett said.

“He grabbed him a little bit, and I think that call was the right one,” Garrett said. “From a technical standpoint, you just have to have a little more poise in that situation. One of Mo’s strengths as a corner is he does have poise. That’s why he makes so many plays on the ball.

“He doesn’t panic when the ball’s in the air, and has good body control when he’s dealing with the receiver and the ball. This particular time, he didn’t do that.”

Claiborne said after the game that as a cornerback, he does not naturally play conservatively, and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin agreed, saying it is hard to coach a cornerback to simply allow a catch and make a tackle.

Garrett said, “Obviously, we don’t want him to be that aggressive. … He just got a little aggressive and really didn’t need to do that, and they made the right call.”

Dez back spasms

Dez Bryant experienced back spasms against the Chiefs, but Jason Garrett sounded optimistic about the receiver.

“We don’t think it’s some big issue, the fact that he was hit and his back locked up on him,” Garrett said. “He’s a tough individual. He got himself right and continued to play in the ballgame. He was walking around a little slowly today. But hopefully he’ll be ready to go.”

Bryant said, “I’m fine,” and added that the back injury isn’t as bad as the one he suffered in the season finale last year.

Spencer sore

Defensive end Anthony Spencer said his knee was sore after his first game action of the season, and that he will have a practice week like last week, with a planned day off.

“It’s pretty sore,” Spencer said Monday. “I can walk and move around. I did some elliptical, a little conditioning.”

Spencer was on the field for 34 snaps against Kansas City.

“It’s a work in progress,” he said. “The first action I have seen this year. It was better than I expected.”

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

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