DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys runs past Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears during the first quarter on December 9, 2013 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.
This offseason the Cowboys have tinkered with their linebackers, rebuilt the defensive line, spent a first-round draft choice on the offensive line and spent money and consternation on defining Tony Romo’s backup.
One position that hasn’t received much attention: Running back.
Hopefully that’s because it’s close to being fixed. But certainly doesn’t mean it’s finalized.
As the Cowboys head to training camp in Oxnard in three weeks we know DeMarco Murray is the workhorse starter, and that shifty change-up back Lance Dunbar is clearly No. 2. And then … ?
Vying for the scraps at No. 3 are a former draft choice (Joseph Randle), a veteran free agent (Ryan Williams) and a rookie (Ben Malena). You’d have to think Randle has the edge, giving that the Cowboys spent a draft pick on him in ’13. And in minicamps he seemed a tougher runner with better hands than his competitors. Williams has more moves, while Malena — who starred at Texas A&M — is better on special teams.
But, of course, running backs coach Gary Brown will settle nothing until the pads start popping in California. Including whether or not the Cowboys keep a fullback on the roster.
Honestly, the Cowboys haven’t adequately filled this void since the days of Daryl Johnston. With most teams phasing out the fullback, they tried Lawrence Vickers a couple years ago but now the only options are Tyler Clutts and LSU rookie J.C. Copeland.
Seems every year Murray misses a game or two with an injury and last season Dunbar got hurt just as he was peaking. In other words, yes, the backup backup running back spots are worth keeping an eye on.
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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.