Bledsoe Seeing the Big Picture

IRVING, TX. - Drew Bledsoe has every reason to be bitter. The 13-year veteran is among the top 20 in NFL history in pass attempts, completions, yards and passing touchdowns.

He's in better health than he's enjoyed in years, and he still has an arm that can crank the ball such distances that it gets picked up on nearby airport radar. As the second-leading passer in the NFC, he could be forgiven for thinking that the only way the Cowboys will win down the stretch is by planting him in the pocket and letting him air it out.

But Bledsoe is not just big, strong and blessed with a bazooka of an arm. He's also smart, and understands that is not the offensive philosophy. Head coach Bill Parcells has forged his probable Hall of Fame career with a system based on running the ball and stout defense. The Dallas defense is vastly improved this year, and in Julius Jones, Marion Barber and Tyson Thompson, the Cowboys boast a trio of young, talented ball carriers.

At his Wednesday press conference, Parcells spoke about the Dallas running game. The young runners, he said, are getting better at their pass protection assignments. He also said that, because of the quickness of his young runners, one of the best ways to force a blitz-happy defense to drop into more conventional coverage schemes is to continue emphasizing the run … the theory being that if a quick runner can get through the oncoming blitz, there will be plenty of open room downfield.

"When you look at teams that have been successful, historically," Bledsoe said, "and have made a run at the thing (the Super Bowl), they usually have usually emphasized the run.

"What happens (when an opposing defense blitzes) is you can leave an extra guy in to try to block all of their guys, or you can get the ball out quicker. When you play a team with a blitzing style, it's not always going to look pretty. But if you can run the ball, (the defense) will back off a little."

Bledsoe said that the run-heavy focus of the Dallas offense is not a surprise -- that's the way Parcells-coached teams are built.

I understand the way we try to play ball here," he said. "Our defense is playing so well right now. If we can run the ball and continue to play good defense, we have a very good chance to be successful."

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