In Week 15, Troy Aikman and Joe Buck called the Packers-Cowboys game for FOX, and were dumbfounded by the Cowboys' play selection in the second half. Despite a halftime lead of 26-3, the Cowboys called 24 pass plays and just 8 run plays on a day in which RB DeMarco Murray ran the ball 18 times for 134 yards and a TD.
The Cowboys' refusal to run the football was universally criticized, especially against a Packers defense that is currently 26th in the NFL against the run.
Friday morning it was announced that Tony Romo was definitively ruled out against the Eagles, and that Kyle Orton would start in what is essentially a playoff game Sunday night in Dallas. Surprisingly, in Aikman's weekly appearance on WFAN with Mike Francesa, Aikman said that the Cowboys are actually better off with Orton.
"I think it was a good pickup for the Cowboys to have (Orton) as a backup, said Aikman. "He's been there now a couple of years, and he's fully capable of doing whatever they want him to do within the offense.
"They'll probably be a little more balanced and run DeMarco Murray more in this game, especially early, and they probably should have done that in other games, and I think because of that they're going to be better on the offensive side of the ball. I expect the Cowboys to play well, at least offensively."
Aikman's comments were not meant to criticize Romo. Instead, intentional or not, Aikman's words were a scathing commentary on his former backup QB and current Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. Aikman is basically saying here that Garrett and his staff are too dumb to realize they shoud run the ball more, so much so that being forced to play a less skilled QB will force the head coach into a better gameplan.
Aikman is also wrong, for the record. The Eagles' defense this season has been strong against the run. It has allowed just 3.8 yards per carry, which is tied for 3rd in the NFL. A run-heavy approach actually plays right into the Eagles' hands. Meanwhile, the Birds' defense has not been very good against the pass, as it has allowed 7.3 yards per pass attempt, which is tied for 19th in the NFL. Having the most important player on the team watching from the sidelines is most certainly not ideal, especially against the Eagles' vulnerable secondary.