The Dallas Cowboys expected Darren McFadden to be healthy by now, but another hamstring injury which is keeping him out of training camp for now is raising the frustration levels with the running back who was signed from the Oakland Raiders.
Honestly, it’s hard to believe the Cowboys are surprised by this. McFadden did play in all 16 games last season but looked bad, rushing for just 534 yards. He hasn’t averaged more than 3.4 yards per carry in a season since 2011, but he played just 7 games that year, and has 39 games since entering the league in 2008. A running back, turning 28 at the end of the month, isn’t suddenly going to get healthier, fresher and better.
The Cowboys assumption going into this season after losing DeMarco Murray to free agency (didn’t really fight for him) is that behind this offensive line, anyone can put up big numbers. Murray posted almost 1000 rushing yards after contact, which means he is kind of special, but he also got more than 800 yards without getting touched, so it’s fair to assume he was playing behind a very good offensive line.
Julius Randle, McFadden and Lance Dunbar are the running back committee, although Randle should be the one who gets more touches. McFadden is a better receiver and blocker, while Dunbar should fill in gaps when there’s need for it. But someone is going to step up and get the “starting” job, and even before McFadden started another injury routine, Randle was the favorite.
There are voices from within the organization suggesting that the Cowboys should take another look at the free agency market and pluck a running back who isn’t such a huge injury risk. McFadden being a former Arkansas player had something to do with his signing, Jerry Jones being the decision maker and all, but maybe the team does see in him something that is just waiting to burst out.