The Dallas Cowboys haven’t done much with Lance Dunbar as a running back over the last couple of years, but the 2014 season might bring a change to that approach, utilizing his speed and pass catching abilities to finally make him a more meaningful part of their offense.
In two years with the Cowboys, Dunbar has carried the ball 51 times for 225 yards and has added 13 receptions for 92 yards. He still hasn’t caught a touchdown pass, and despite all the enthusiasm from his ability to make an impact in the passing game we still haven’t seen anything to indicate the Cowboys really putting their faith in his hands.
He had a game with 82 yards on 11 carries last season against the Raiders. One might think that with the durability issues DeMarco Murray has we might see a bit more from Dunbar, but the 5’8 running back who played his college football for North Texas isn’t exactly built to last for a very long time if used heavily.
So why now? Well, the cap situation as always means the Cowboys can’t make meaningful additions to their offense. Not that they’ve had problems offensively: Tony Romo is putting up big numbers, Murray is a very good running back and there have been plenty of weapons to utilize. The defense was where the Cowboys fell last season, so developing from within might be their best solution.
According to running back coach Gary Brown, there’s a very good chance Dunbar gets an expanded role in an offense that didn’t really have any use for him during his first two seasons in the NFL.
Well, he’s a guy that’s going to be a complete weapon. We can line him up anywhere on the team-tailback spot, at the wide receiver spot, in the slot. He has tremendous hands and he’s just not a specialty guy. He could play tailback if you need him to go out there and give you 15 or 20 carries. He’s that type of kid. He brings a whole different dimension, a whole different vibe in our room as far as what he does and we’re looking forward to using him as a weapon as well.
Sometimes it takes guys, especially specialists, a few years to come into their own in this league. With the Cowboys not looking like they’ve upgraded significantly, maybe salvation and finally making it to the playoffs can be achieved only by getting even more creative on offense with the likes of Dunbar playing a bigger part.