Obviously, this is why people will talk about "you cannot take a RB in the first round" anymore. Running Backs, as you will see, are not full-time players on any level. We tracked this data all season long and found that even your top RB - Felix Jones - is barely playing more than half the snaps .
We will see below how vital offensive line excellence truly is. More on that in a bit.
Now, my data and the data at ProFootballFocus.com differ because they count plays where penalties occur because it satisfies their methodology with penalty tracking and so forth. When I kept the snaps this season, I did not count "unofficial" snaps so our math will differ a bit.
However, for the point of this exercise, let's see who played the most for the offense this season.
1105 Offensive Snaps
|C - Gurode||16||1105 - 100%|
|LT - Free||16||1105 - 100%|
|TE - Witten||16||1077 - 97.4%|
|RG - Davis||16||1077 - 97.4%|
|RT - Colombo||15||1027 - 93.0%|
|WR - Austin||16||1019 - 92.3%|
|LG - Kosier||13||849 - 76.9%|
|WR - Williams||15||690 - 62.5%|
|QB - Kitna||10||623 - 56.4%|
|RB - Jones||16||571 - 51.7%|
|TE - Bennett||16||494 - 44.7%|
|WR - Bryant||12||431 - 39.0%|
|QB - Romo||6||372 - 33.6%|
|FB - Gronkowski||14||337 - 30.4%|
|RB - Barber||13||292 - 26.4%|
|RB - Choice||16||220 -19.9%|
|WR - Hurd||15||214 - 19.3%|
|G - Holland||14||177 - 16.0%|
|QB - McGee||2||110 - 9.8%|
|G - Costa||4||109 - 9.8%|
|T - Barron||11||80 - 7.2%|
|TE - Chandler||9||53 - 4.7%|
|WR - Ogletree||6||43 - 3.8%|
|WR - Johnson||2||42 - 3.8%|
Let's look at some things that jump out at us from this list:
* Perfect attendance for Gurode and Free. Also, Colombo had perfect attendance for the final 15 games. Basically, like the defense, if there is one disconcerting element about the way the offensive line played, it would be that it was NOT affected much by major injury. The entire defense had only one significant injury affect its season (Marcus Spears). On the offensive line, Kyle Kosier missed 3 games. Otherwise, the line of Free-Kosier-Gurode-Davis-Colombo was intact from start to finish. It wasn't the healthiest line in football, but it also did not test the depth very hard. We saw Alex Barron's level of play and Phil Costa was thrown out there before he was ready, too. The Cowboys have flirted with disaster with backup linemen for sometime and all it takes is one major knee injury to really see what your roster is made of. Considering we were all pretty disappointed with the OL play, one wonders what injury issues might have done.
* Miles Austin has nearly 400 more snaps than any of the other receivers. The biggest reason for this is his quality and health. But beyond that, he is the Cowboys WR of choice when they are in "22" or "13" personnel with only a single WR. I might surmise that is because he is a decent downfield blocker, but actually, I don't think he is as good in that category as Roy Williams. Yes, there is actually a category where Roy Williams is better than Austin! The reason I think he is the choice of Jason Garrett is his ability to stress the safety as a deep threat. With "22" personnel, if you do not have a deep threat who scares the opponent, then you are facing 10 in the box. With Austin, they keep a safety high, and the Cowboys have a number advantage at the point of attack if they run.
* Running Back splits are Jones - 52%, Barber - 26%, and Choice 20%. This explains the reluctance to pay Running Backs.
* Near the bottom, you understand the need for special teams play from guys who are not in the Top dozen or so. Gronkowski, Barber, Choice, Hurd, and Ogletree are on the brink of not having a role unless they play on special teams. Barber doesn't play at all on special teams and Ogletree was not a good option according to the way he was used.
* Any team with 3 QB's with over 100 snaps in a season do not have a very good chance at winning, I would assume. The 2010 Cowboys did not have many injuries, but the Tony Romo injury is not one that teams can overcome very often.