No one should be surprised that Emmitt Smith wants the Dallas Cowboys to make a commitment to the running game.
Led by DeMarco Murray’s 175-yard rushing performance on Sunday, the Cowboys improved to 2-1 with a 31-7 blowout victory over the St. Louis Rams.
The NFL’s all-time leading rusher liked what he saw, but he wants more.
“I know publicly we’ve said that we want to run the football, but I’m looking for that commitment,” Smith said Monday evening. “That commitment shows consistency and that consistency has the running backs and offensive line going in there every week with the expectation that they’re going to run the football. They prepare themselves mentally for that. That’s what I’m looking for.”
Smith, the Pro Football Hall of Famer who helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls in the 1990s, said he’s not asking for 175 yards from Murray every week, but he does want between 20 to 35 running plays called each game.
“I think that’s the balance that’s needed,” Smith said. “I think that’s the tradition that the Cowboys have established throughout the history of the organization. You go back to Tom Landry, who used to run the ball between [Tony] Dorsett and [Robert] Newhouse and Calvin Hill and all the way back. You know what we did in the 90s. All of those teams produced championship seasons.
“I expect this team here to do the same if we’re able to establish the run in the way that I expect it to be established.”
Smith was scheduled to be honored at Escambia High School in Pensacola, Fla. on Tuesday. The Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance have formed a program called “Hometown Hall of Famers” that honors the hometown roots of football’s greatest coaches, players and contributors.
“I think this is a tremendous way to bridge the gap between my roots, the area where I come from, the surrogate mothers and fathers, if you will, who helped shape me into the man that I am today,” said Smith, who rushed for 8,804 yards and 106 touchdowns in four years at Escambia High. “To be able to give back to this community in this way so people can remember that if I can make it out of here, they can make it as well.
“I want them to be inspired to go out and do great things.”