Emmitt Smith Actually Makes Sense, Questions Why Cowboys Didn't Run Ball

Much has been made of the Cowboys' decision to build last week's game plan around Terrell Owens -- even at the cost of winning, apparently -- and today, Emmitt Smith, by way of example, explains to the Dallas Morning News' Jean-Jacques Taylor why the Cowboys can't be afraid to run the ball just because they face eight-man fronts.

"We always believed the eighth man was my responsibility," Smith said. "I either had to make him miss or run him over." So why did the Cowboys let the Redskins discourage them from running against an eight-man front?

"They didn't have the confidence or the commitment to the running game," Smith said. "They had a different agenda. They had an agenda to get T.O. the ball and make plays in the passing game, hence they throw him 18 passes and only make seven completions.

"I've never seen Michael Irvin have 18 passes thrown his way. Even when we played against eight in the box, we were committed to running the rock regardless. There was a commitment that I touch the ball 20 times a game running or receiving."

You know, it's fun to gawk at Smith for various debaclements of the language, but he's pretty much spot-on here. In theory, it's hard to fault quarterback Tony Romo for audibling out of running plays and into passing plays given the stop-the-run-first looks the 'Skins defense often showed pre-snap, but at some point, you have to give Marion Barber a chance to prove he won't tread whomever's in front of him. Particularly since Washington cornerback Shawn Springs did a splendid job of shutting down T.O. for most of the game.

I'm sure Jerry Jones made a mental note of head coach Wade Phillips' inability to reign in his quarterback, and will undoubtedly recount as much when he reads from a hastily written letter citing "cause" as the reason for Phillips' dismissal shortly after the Cowboys lose in the first round of the playoffs. Should be fun.

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