One of the major differences in Jason Garrett’s offenses is that they operate from under center a solid amount, which is terrific news for Saquon Barkley.
Former NY Giants head coach had many annoying tendencies in his offense, the main one possibly being that he almost ran exclusively out of shotgun. While most quarterbacks prefer to pass the ball out of shotgun, in my opinion, it doesn’t lend itself well for runningbacks having success running the ball, and Saquon Barkley should enjoy being in a more traditional offense.
I’ve pontificated that the reason Saquon Barkley has struggled running the ball between the tackles is that he rarely got a chance to run from behind center. While running behind a shaky offensive line, a runningback has a much better chance to make something happen when they have a full head of stream rather than being stuck in the mud attempting to sidestep oncoming defenders.
A perfect example of this came in the game against the New York Jets last season where Saquon was only able to muster up 1 yard on 13 carries. All game long, Jets were in the backfield right after he was handed the ball and since he was flat-footed it was impossible for him to break any tackles. If he had a step or two of speed – and maybe even a lead blocker – his chances of accumulating yards would have gone up dramatically.
The Cowboys ran more shotgun than under center over the years with Jason Garrrett – especially lately – but it was much closer to 50/50 than the average team. Additionally, they ran the ball at a much higher percentage from under center than from shotgun, which is a big reason why their running game has been so productive.
Ezekiel Elliott flourished during his time with Jason Garrett in Dallas which has many excited for the possibilities for Saquon Barkley in 2020. Obviously, the offensive line play has been significantly better in Dallas over the last few years, but Garrett’s commitment to more of an old school rushing attack certainly contributed to the team’s success.
Operating from under center more will also open up more play-action opportunities, and should give Saquon more of an expanded route tree on screens.