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Chickens, Eggs and DeMarco Murray

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Chickens, Eggs and DeMarco Murray

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DeMarco Murray practiced on Wednesday.

That's become the 2012 Cowboys season equivalent of the puff of white smoke from the Vatican when it comes time to elect a new pope. The masses may rejoice because now the Cowboys will once again have a running game. 

The need for more production on the ground can't be ignored. They are on pace for 1,260 rushing yards this season, which will almost certainly be less than the total posted by the leading individual rusher on the year. As you'd imagine, they are also on pace for one of the lowest totals in franchise history in rushing attempts.  

Can it all be explained away by Murray's absence for the last six games, though? One look at the offensive line tells you no (as does one look at Murray's numbers from the games he has played), but asking that question leads to another question, one that it feels like we've been asking every few weeks since Jason Garrett took over as offensive coordinator.

Why can't the running game succeed?

It's opens up a chicken and egg wormhole in the Cowboys offense. Do they fail to run the ball because it is ineffective or is it ineffective because they don't run the ball? Do they run so little because they fall behind or do they fall behind because they run so little? Play calling or talent? Outcome or process?

It makes your head hurt almost as much as trying to figure out the science behind time travel in any piece of media that has ever delved into the science behind time travel. What we know is that the Cowboys usually fail at establishing the run early in games and that they have consistently looked their best offensively this season throwing the ball when coming from behind. 

Unfortunately, that scenario is also why they wind up losing so often. So why not try a slightly different approach. Instead of trying to establish the run early, why not pressure the defense with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant first? 

The Eagles just got shredded by Cam Newton and they don't look like they'll be getting any less shreddable before Sunday. Let Romo be Romo early and then start thinking about running to back up the lead that hopefully provides. 

Sometimes its better to stop worrying about why something doesn't work and just try doing it a different way. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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