Sorry, I don’t trust Phillip Tanner. Nor rookie Joseph Randle.
In the wake of the Cowboys losing running back Lance Dunbar with a season-ending injury, I’m ready have my faith in DeMarco Murray justified.
Murray is now the man. If Dallas expects to survive another December and win the NFC East for the first time in four years he must stay healthy and run hearty. Wait, he’s already doing that. Right?
Don’t look now, but Murray has the best yards-per-carry average in the NFL among runners with at least 100 carries. Yep, his 4.9 per rush is better than Adrian Peterson (4.6), better than LeSean McCoy (4.7), better than Marshawn Lynch (4.3) and better than everybody.
At 70 yards per game, he's on pace for 1,115 yards this season, which would not only be his first 1,000-yard NFL campaign but the Cowboys' best individual rushing season since Emmitt Smith's 1,203 in 2000.
Without Dunbar’s change-of-pace, the ball will be in Murray’s hands.
“DeMarco is our lead back, has been our lead back all year long and did a really good job in the game the other day again,” head coach Jason Garrett said in a press conference Tuesday at Valley Ranch. “He’ll be the lead dog. The other guys, Joseph and Phillip, will have to step up if they have an opportunity if DeMarco can’t go.”
Relatively speaking, Murray’s had a healthy season. Other than being slowed by a knee injury in September, he’s been steady, if not spectacular.
In his last three games Murray has 238 yards and four touchdowns, three on Thanksgiving against the Raiders. He also had eight catches in Dallas’ last two wins. So just because Dunbar is gone doesn’t mean the screen pass has to vanish with him.
Garrett referred to Murray’s style as “dirty runs,” the kind that don’t break into the secondary but move a pile or fall forward to change 2nd-and-8 into 2nd-and-5.
Down the stretch, Murray just needs to be Murray. We haven’t exactly noticed, but he’s been pretty damn good all season.
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.