Troy Aikman sees triple-threat Deion Sanders providing a much-needed dual purpose for the Dallas Cowboys, if he is moved to the offensive side of the ball for the final quarter-season stretch drive.

"I think [Sanders] can do some things that can be incorporated into our offense that, hopefully, can help us, either getting the ball to him or letting Deion draw attention his way and freeing up some other [receivers]," said Aikman, who said Monday that he has grown wary of talking about an offense that, excluding the two Washington games, is averaging only 1.6 offensive touchdowns per game this season.

"We're probably at a position offensively where we need to do whatever we can to get as many playmakers on our side of the ball as possible . . . and Deion certainly is one of those guys."

End of story, right?

One would think so.

But Coach Chan Gailey remained noncommital this week, saying that the team's braintrust will bat it around behind closed doors over the next couple of days before deciding on whether to give the NFC's leading Pro Bowl vote-getter in the fan balloting at "both" cornerback and kick returner what could amount to 10 to 12 snaps on offense.

With the possible exception of having only one road victory, there is nothing more that the Cowboys' offense is lacking than big-play ability.

Since Michael Irvin was lost Oct. 10 with a cervical injury and congenital condition, the Gailey offense hasn't had a consistent big-play threat to complement Raghib "Rocket" Ismail, who has become less and less a deep threat, while still piling up twice as many receptions (65) as the team's second-leading receiver, Ernie Mills (30).

"Our emphasis is as a running football team," said Aikman, referring to Emmitt Smith's 1,053 yards and that he was on pace to carry the ball a career-high 400 times before he broke his right hand and missed 1 1/2 games.

"When you put that much emphasis on the running game, then the passing game is not going to be as sharp when you get into a passing situation . . . but we [in the pass offense] have to work through that."