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Dallas coach Jason Garrett says run-first mentality will remain

Joseph Randle and Dallas were limited to 81 rushing yards in Week 1, but Jason Garrett says running the ball remains a priority. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

IRVING, Texas -- Coach Jason Garrett insists the Dallas Cowboys' commitment to running the ball hasn’t changed, despite Tony Romo's 45 passes in Week 1.

He points to Joseph Randle's 16 carries -- none in the fourth quarter -- and the inordinate amount of time the Cowboys spent in their two-minute offense as evidence the Cowboys’ philosophical approach hasn’t changed.

Good, because Romo throwing the ball more than 40 times is typically a losing number. The Cowboys are 11-17, when he throws more than 40 passes in a game, and 21-32 when he throws more than 35 passes in a game.

The Cowboys won 12 games last season and the NFC East title because of their run-first identity. They were a physical team that systematically wore down their opponents.

The Cowboys don’t have to have a 50-50 run/pass balance, but they don’t need to throw the ball more than about 55 percent of the time, because it will be asking Romo to do too much and exposing him to way too many hits.

"If you look at our possessions, four of them were two-minute opportunities -- two in the first half and two at the end of the game," Garrett said, "You really have to watch the game and evaluate the game. You have to understand the context in which the plays were run."

With Dez Bryant out for at least the next 4-6 weeks, it will probably get tougher to run as teams commit the safety that used to have to double-cover Bryant to help stop the running game.

So there could be an urge to throw more, because it’s easier than running against an eight-man front, but that would be the wrong decision.

"The idea is to have a balanced offense and attack in a lot of different ways, both running and passing," Garrett said. "And that’s what we try to do each and every week."