Despite missing 9 games through his first two NFL seasons, the Dallas Cowboys are still planning to use Demarco Murray as their feature back, although they do realize that after seeing his proneness to injury, they need a solid player to back him up at running back.
Murray rushed for 663 yards last season, playing in 10 games and averaging 4.1 yards per carry. His struggles with injuries weren’t something new, after missing three games in the 2011 NFL season, running for 897 yards and averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
Along with Murray’s problems to stay healthy, Felix Jones, the Cowboys’ number 2 back, was just as disappointing. He wasn’t completely healthy as well, but it had a lot to do with his ability ever since he got drafted. In total, the Cowboys ran for only 1265 yards, the lowest season total in franchise history, which led to the firing of Skip Peete and bringing in Gary Brown as the running backs coach.
Brown, who worked with the Cleveland Browns in the previous three years and played eight seasons in the NFL during the 1990’s, has no doubt in his mind that Murray, with 6 touchdowns and 1560 yards over the last couple of seasons, should be the Cowboys’ number one tailback, although concedes they might need to do a better job in finding someone to back him up.
We all know that the injury bug has bit him a little bit. We have to keep him healthy, and he and I will work together to just refine some of his things and get him better. Obviously he is a good, talented runner. We just want to shine up some of his things and get him to be an elite runner. You probably just want a guy that’s going to come in and complement him in the way maybe of just being, maybe more of a jitterbug type guy.
So who will it be? Felix Jones is hitting free agency, and the Cowboys aren’t too sure about him. Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar haven’t done much so far to impress anyone, carrying the ball a combined 68 times since entering the NFL. The Cowboys are limited in what they can do in free agency, so maybe the draft is the answer.
Murray ran for 253 yards against the St. Louis Rams during his rookie year, in what seemed to be an announcement to the entire league that the Cowboys finally have a running back teams should worry about. Nearly 18 months later, and they’re hoping he can still come through on that promise.