Starting or not, DeMarco Murray must get great majority of carries for Cowboys
By Brandon George
Dallas Morning News
The bottom line is that there’s no way the Cowboys can’t give rookie DeMarco Murray the bulk of the carries the way he’s performed the last month if they’re serious about winning.
The numbers don’t lie. Murray, Dallas’ third-round pick out of Oklahoma, has rushed for 601 yards the last four games. Felix Jones’ career-high for rushing yards in a season came last year when he had 800.
If the Cowboys decide to reward Jones for his four years of service with ceremonial starts, so be it. But Murray should get at least 75 percent more carries than Jones until either proves it should be otherwise.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning on his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM 105.3 that the plan is for Felix Jones to return to action Sunday at Washington.
“I don’t know just exactly how on top of his game he’ll be,” Jerry Jones said of Felix Jones, “but, man, am I anxious to have both of those options out there. That will be exciting.”
Then Jerry Jones went on to say that he envisions Murray as more of a “workhorse” running back than Felix Jones, alluding to the likelihood that Murray will probably get the bulk of the carries with Felix Jones back in the mix Sunday.
“One thing that comes to my mind is that Murray looks like the more he carries the more effective he gets. If you think of that theoretically about a workhorse running back that they get better as the game goes along,” Jerry Jones said. “Felix, and this is not negative in any way, Felix has always been a guy that he looks like the best way for him to be his best is to inject him in spots and so we may have a guy here in Murray who can carry a lot of carries and we may have a guy in Felix that can step in there and carry it 13 times a ballgame and really have a chance to break it.”
The Cowboys are starting to feel good about themselves. They’re on a roll and have the NFC East-leading New York Giants in their cross-hairs. The Cowboys’ remaining schedule is much easier than what is ahead for the Giants.
But for the Cowboys to run down the Giants, they have no choice but to stick with Murray. Whether he starts or not is insignificant.
Remember, Tashard Choice started at running back for the Cowboys against St. Louis on Oct. 23. Murray went on to rush for a single-game team-record 253 yards on 25 carries that day. As for Choice? He had two carries against the Rams and is expected to start for the Redskins against the Cowboys on Sunday.
That’s how much starting matters in the grand scheme of things.
Q: How does the practice team work? Do they practice fully with the team and are they allowed to attend the games?
Rick Reeves, Oak Harbor, Wash.
GEORGE: The practice team does participate in practice. They’re a part of the scout team, getting the Cowboys ready for their opponents. They also attend home games but don’t dress out. They don’t travel to road games. They’re security for the Cowboys if a player is injured during the week.
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Sam Rubenstein, Detroit, Michigan
GEORGE: The Cowboys and Chargers do use similar offenses, but I can’t see that scenario working out. For one, Jason Garrett’s identity is calling the plays on offense and I don’t see him relinquishing those duties anytime soon. Secondly, I can’t see Turner being relegated to an offensive coordinator after being a head coach for so long. Turner would be up for another NFL coaching job if the Chargers decided to go in another direction. I don’t think that scenario would ever work out.
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Q: With youth on the offensive side of the ball, could next year’s draft cause Jerry Jones to look for premier defensive players in the first round?
Tony Smalls, Yuma, Ariz.
GEORGE: That’s certainly a possibility because the Cowboys will need replacements at linebacker and safety. Veteran inside linebackers Keith Brooking and Bradie James could be gone after this season and safeties Abram Elam and Gerald Sensabaugh are playing under one-year contracts and will be free agents again this off-season. However, the Cowboys could go after a quarterback in the first round of next April’s draft because third-stringer Stephen McGee’s contract is up and veteran backup Jon Kitna could retire. The Cowboys need to draft a quality quarterback soon and begin developing him for the future.
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Q: Do you think the Cowboys will make the playoffs?
Chris Gilmore, West Hills, Calif.
GEORGE: I picked the Cowboys to finish 9-7 before the season started and not make the playoffs, but it’s looking more and more like they could get into the postseason. They’re one game behind the New York Giants in the NFC East and still play them twice. The Giants’ schedule is much tougher than the Cowboys’ the rest of the way. Right now, I would say the Cowboys will make the playoffs if they can continue to run the ball like they have over the last month and keep getting solid offensive line play. They can’t have a letdown, however, Sunday at Washington.