I thought I was seeing things. Or not seeing things. Or, since I hit the big 5-Oh last summer, merely declining with age.
But now? I think I was right all along.
I thought and said and wrote last season that DeMarco Murray constantly missed holes. He made the wrong cut, or made no cut all – taking on a tackler instead of juking for extra yards. After almost every run – and certainly every game – I had the feeling that the Cowboys’ running back didn’t maximize his opportunities.
Bottom line: I was convinced the blocking was far superior to his running.
But then you look up at Murray leading the NFL and setting a Cowboys’ franchise record with 1,845 yards and you begin to question your eyes, your mind and your perspective.
My brother always agreed with me. So did lots of media dorks in the press box. Then Murray flew to the Eagles in free agency and his heir apparent, Joseph Randle, claimed he “left a lot of meat on the bone.” Considering Randle’s resume, it was hardly the confirmation I needed.
But then a guy named Emmitt Smith spoke up, saying he felt Murray left as many as 700 yards on the field in 2014. And now Smith’s – er, our – sentiments are being echoed by another all-time great running back, LaDainian Tomlinson.
“As a guy that watches a lot of film, Emmitt is correct,” the former star at TCU and the Chargers told DFW.com. “There were a lot of times, and DeMarco is a very physical runner and instead of making that last guy miss and taking it for 50 or 60, he would try and run him over. That’s just his style and he would end up getting tackled for 20 instead of 50. So Emmitt is right in that sense, but at the same time, one thing that I do respect about DeMarco is he knows his strengths. He is not a juke guy, he’s a downhill, physical runner.”
On one hand it’s preposterous that two guys who never did what DeMarco did are criticizing the manner in which he did it. Smith’s best year was 1,773 yards; Tomlinson’s 1,815.
On the other hand, they’re right. We’re all right. Right?
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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.