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Overworking DeMarco Murray Shouldn't Be a Concern

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In a perfect football world, you would be able to balance your team so that everybody was used in exactly the way that maximized their health and productivity.

    Running backs would rotate often enough to keep their legs fresh, receivers would shuttle in and out of the game at the moments that best utilized their skills and you'd have enough cornerbacks to cover everybody on every play. It's a nice dream, but unless you run an SEC team it isn't one that can actually come true.

    Teams have to overwork some players and put others at risk of injury in order to achieve their desired results. That's particularly true of the Cowboys right now. They need to put Dez Bryant back on punt returns, they need to have Sean Lee playing with a cast on his wrist and they need to keep giving the ball to DeMarco Murray if they are going to wind up in the playoffs.

    Tim McMahon of ESPN Dallas wonders if the team should cut back on Murray's workload after relying heavily on him during the current four-game winning streak. He's a rookie with a history of injuries, so it's not like there's no reason to be concerned about how he will hold up as the feature back over the final month of the season.

    But those concerns don't outweigh the need for the Cowboys to stick with what's been working in the last few weeks. Murray hasn't shown many signs of wearing down under the increased load, so while it would be nice to get Felix Jones more involved in the offense it isn't like the team is desperate to find some other way to attack opposing defenses.

    Jason Garrett sees things the same way based on his response to a question about the need to get Murray more rest.

    "We really don’t look at it that way," Garrett said. "We want to make sure that we use him in what we feel is the appropriate manner each week. … Certainly, we don’t want to overuse him, particularly because of the other backs that we have. So, we’ll monitor that game by game and hopefully everybody will be fresh and ready to go down the stretch here."

    If the winning streak extends a few more weeks, then you can start thinking about lightening Murray's workload because you'll know that you need him fresh and fit for the postseason. Until you get there, though, you have to do what's best for the team and not what you might do under ideal circumstances.

    The finish line is in sight, which makes it exactly the wrong time to yank back on the reins. Murray's gotta run or the Cowboys won't get where they need to go.