Since beginning his tenure as head coach, Jason Garrett has been heavenly criticized for his reluctance to establish the Cowboys as a consistent running team. This offseason Jerry Jones made it a point of emphasize to shake things up for the Cowboys offensively.
Enter former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. While Linehan is not exactly known for running the football. The Lions are coming off a season with two running backs with more than 160 carries.
The question is, how will Linehan find ways to utilize DeMarco Murray consistently?
Since coming into the NFL in 2011 DeMarco Murray has had an up and down career. Murray has battled injuries each year since coming into the league. Last year, he made his first Pro Bowl and had a career season rushing for 1,121 yard and 9 touchdowns. He became the first Cowboys running back to rush for 1,000 yards since Julius Jones in 2006.
When healthy Murray is one of the most complete running backs in the NFL. He has the ability to gain tough yardage and occasionally hit the home run with his combination of speed and power. Murray is also a superb receiver out of the backfield with the ability to make defenders miss in the open field.
One astounding statistic about the Cowboys since Murray joined the team in 2011, is the fact that they are 11-0 when he receives 20 or more carries in a game. Although, the Cowboys have only done so in 11 out of his career 37 games.
Many Cowboys fans remember last year’s devastating 37-36 loss at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. Notably, the Cowboys held a 26-3 lead at halftime with DeMarco Murray rushing for 93 yards on 11 carries in the first half. Although, the running game was working on all cylinders that day Murray only finished the second half with seven carries.
In order to avoid repeat performances such as the Packers game, Linehan must take it upon himself to get Murray established in games early and often. Something that seems to be an after thought in Dallas during the Garrett era.