Cowboys rap strategy . . . 'Big picture' for TV viewers

By , Sports writer of The Christian Science Monitor

What disagreements exist on the Dallas Cowboys are generally kept quiet, but the O.K. Corral developed a crack or two last Sunday. After their 28-27 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in pro football's National Conference championship game, several Cowboys publicly questioned Dallas's offensive strategy.

Perhaps most outspoken were wide receivers Tony Hill and Drew Pearson, who felt they weren't thrown to enough.Quarterback Danny White was more discreet, though he may have said the same thing with the observation, ''We never really established a passing attack.'' That's a rather odd remark for someone who had just completed 16 of 24 passes. All but seven of his attempts, however, were aimed at players swinging out of the backfield or the tight end.

It does seem a bit strange that Coach Tom Landry wouldn't want to test San Francisco's aggressive, young secondary more. After all, the Cowboys have one of the game's greatest clutch players in Pearson, an excellent deep threat, and two other swift, big-play receivers in Hill and Butch Johnson.

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Then, again, how can anyone really second-guess Landry? His record speaks for itself: five Super Bowls, 18 wins in 31 playoff games, 16 consecutive winning seasons. And lest we forget, the Cowboys came very close to beating San Francisco, losing only on a spectacular touchdown catch by Dwight Clark in the last minute.

Dallas usually wins games this same way, so it had to be especially frustrating to find the shoe on the opposite foot. Still, the Cowboy players should have been wary of making quick judgments afterward - at least to a pack of scribbling reporters. Landry is sure to make this point clear to the offenders. And since management fully supports him, anyone who doesn't like his message may wind up on the trading block.

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