Cowboys OC Callahan wants to call more run plays

IRVING, Texas – Bill Callahan has heard the criticism. The Cowboys’ offensive coordinator/play caller knows the Cowboys need to run the ball more.

“Absolutely, we all do,” Callahan said Thursday at the team’s Valley Ranch complex. “We’ve got to do a better job, I’ve got to do a better job of calling more runs. That’s something that we’re working hard at.”

The Cowboys ran just 13 running plays in Sunday’s 17-16 loss at Kansas City. Along with three scrambles, they averaged just 2.3 yards per rushing attempt.

They attempted 42 passes, which Callahan said was dictated by the matchups presented by the Kansas City defense.

“We just took advantage of some opportunities that existed and we went after coverage and, obviously, some matchups that we liked,” Callahan said. “It’s not that we didn’t want to run it. It’s just that during the course of a game you’re going to go ahead and attack a defense in a certain way and a certain manner.”

After two games, the Cowboys have just 124 net rushing yards, compared to 525 passing. Out of their 42 first downs this season, 32 have been by passing (six rushing, four by penalty).

Callahan indicated that the Cowboys’ play-calling philosophy is determined by what looks the defense gives the offense. Immediate circumstances override the desire to “keep the defense honest” with running plays designed to set up calls later in the game.

“It may take 40 passes, it may take 40 runs. We’ll do whatever we have to do to win the game,” Callahan said.

“You’re always striving for balance. When opportunities present themselves during the course of a game, we’re going to attack it. That’s a part of the philosophy, is taking advantage of defenses that are vulnerable, or create an opportunity.”

Callahan also said that going to a no-huddle attack can also limit the number of running plays called. If the offense likes a particular look it’s getting from the defense, a hurry-up, no-huddle tempo can keep the defense from substituting.

“We’re just trying to spread the ball around,” Callahan said.

“Sometimes in doing so, we want to take advantage of some matchups. That’s one of the things that’s going on. And then secondly, we wanted to take advantage of some no-huddle situations that dictated a little more pass than run. I think it’ll all balance out in the end.”

For now, though, the results give the appearance that the Cowboys are back to their old habits of trying to win the game on quarterback Tony Romo’s arm. But the Cowboys do have an offensive line that hasn’t worked much together because of injuries, inexperience and the late addition of guard Brian Waters.

“We are definitely working at every end to get our run game up and going,” Callahan said. “It’s not that we don’t like to run. We love to run the football.”

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire