How “Dirty Runs” Helped McFadden Win Starting Job

McFadden was named the Cowboys starting running back last week


Darren McFadden won the starting job for the Dallas Cowboys on the back of a 29-carry, 152-yard performance against the New York Giants two weeks ago. But it wasn’t just that he just stacked up all those yards that impressed coaches--it was his ability to get what Jason Garrett calls the “dirty yards” at the end of runs.

If you remember, Garrett used that term a lot last year when talking about DeMarco Murray, when the ultra-physical Murray was on his way of breaking the Cowboys’ single-season rushing record and finishing just about every run by falling forward, squeezing every inch out of the play.

Garrett saw some of that out of McFadden not only against the Giants, but in a far less sexy, 20-carry, 64-yard performance against the Seahawks.

I think we saw a lot of that in the Giants game,” Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. “He made some big runs in the Giants game, but if you watch him at the end of those runs, the big runs he was finishing forward and then he made a number of dirty runs last week. A short-yardage run that was a big play for us where he pushed the pile and a number of other runs where it’s not always clean, but if you finish the run the right way and you make a 2-yard run into a 4-yard run and a 4-yard run into a 6-yard run and so on. He’s done a lot of that the last couple of weeks."

"There were more opportunities for those kinds of runs [vs. Seattle]. It’s a tough defense. It’s a good front seven. They are oriented to stopping the run with their group up front, and I thought he did a good job handling himself and really in a lot of ways helping us control the football by running the football, a lot of consecutive runs in the game, a lot of first downs made running the football, and he was a big part of that.”

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