During training camp, Cowboys coaches repeatedly said they had few worries about the running game. Marion Barber lost a few pounds but still looked strong. Felix Jones gained a few pounds but still looked fast. And Tashard Choice was all set for his third-back role.
Against the Texans Saturday night, Barber’s first two runs went for losses of three and four yards. He entered the game with eight preseason carries for 25 yards, so he was down to 18 after those first two efforts.
Barber finished with four carries for minus-2 yards. Jones had three carries for 6 yards, giving him nine preseason carries for 21 yards.
“It’s definitely a concern that we’re not running it at a better clip," quarterback Tony Romo said. “That’s a huge advantage if you’re able to consistently get yards, especially on the road. When it’s third-and-10, it puts a lot of pressure on the O-linemen and a lot of people have to do a lot of things right. We definitely need to perform better.”
Jason Garrett, though, said it's not just the running game, which is obvious. The first-team offense has had 12 possessions. They have produced two field goals and one touchdown. The touchdown came on an 8-yard drive. Three other possessions have ended with turnovers. They have 263 total yards.
"Everyone realizes we’re not doing things well enough really in any areas," Garrett said. "We haven’t run the ball particularly well. Pass protection has been only OK. Our ability to throw the ball down the field has been inconsistent. There were some good things that happened [against the Texans]. We’re going to look at it play by play, and we’ll evaluate guys individually. We’ll see some good things. We’ll see some things we won’t like. But overall, we just need to execute better play by play in every area of our offense."-- Jan Hubbard/Charean Williams