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Cowboys' Running Game Grinds to a Disturbing Halt

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Running Game Grinds to a Disturbing Halt

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The offensive line? Play-caller Bill Callahan? Quarterback Tony Romo? Or, at this point, do we blame the Cowboys’ flaccid running game on the guy toting the football, DeMarco Murray?

The line wasn’t good in the 17-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Center Travis Frederick allowed two sacks and guard Ron Leary committed a crucial false-start penalty inside Kansas City’s 5-yard line.

Owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning on his weekly radio show that he expects veteran Brian Waters to start Sunday against the Rams.

But, um, is that it?

Nope. It's going to take much more to keep this year’s running game from being bad, or even worse than last year’s. And need I remind that the 2012 Cowboys were the worst rushing team in franchise history? Those Cowboys averaged 79 yards per game. These? 62.

Callahan got away from the run. Likewise, Romo audibled out of too many runs into passes at the line of scrimmage. There’s no fullback. And … when does Murray shoulder some blame?

Right now.

The guy who burst onto the scene as a rookie with a franchise-record 253 yards in 2011 is suddenly just a ho-hum average NFL running back. At best. Over his last 16 games Murray has produced one 100-yard game. One.

There was a drastic visual change-of-pace from Murray to Lance Dunbar in Week 2 and even Phillip Tanner in Week 1. Problem is, both those backups put the ball on the ground. They are not yet trustworthy.

But neither is the Cowboys’ running game. Dallas is 26th in the NFL with 124 yards. Sixteen players have more yards, including Raiders’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

The Cowboys haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Julius Jones in 2006. If Murray can’t top that number this year, more heart-breaking losses and 8-8 is an inevitability.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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