There are many people in the media thinking the Dallas Cowboys will be running more. Now, beyond the obvious actual run game I will include the screen and dump pass game as part of this. Is it really something the Cowboys are looking to do? While the signs point to yes, there are a few key things that will need to happen.
First, DeMarco Murray needs to stay healthy. While I love watching Lance Dunbar play and he could potentially carry the load, I am not sure there is enough behind him if Murray goes down again. A healthy Murray will allow the Dallas Cowboys to throw multiple RBs on the field at the same time. This could be a great mismatch for the offense if say Murray splits out wide and Dunbar is in the backfield, or vice versa. Without Murray the depth becomes an issue.
While the Cowboys have built arguably one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, they have had problems finding a lead blocker. In the past they have used tight ends, fliers on injured fullbacks, and sometimes went without one. This season the Cowboys decided to bring in one with J.C. Copeland. I like the short yardage potential of Copeland, but his real usefulness will come if he can be the lead blocker the Cowboys think he can be. Preseason will be the time to tell if they found a gem, or if he is nothing more than a big body. His ability to block will be a key if the Cowboys will in fact run more.
The last thing to look at is history. Sadly, Jason Garrett is not the best playcaller in the NFL and at times has gotten away from the run, when running the ball is exactly what he should have been doing. His willingness to call more runs will certainly be a question leading up to the season. We all know about the playcall change Tony Romo did, however, if the run game is effective and is actually opening up the pass game more, then I believe he won’t change the play if there is confidence. I honestly think Romo at that point in the season with Murray and Dunbar out had little to no confidence in the run game.
With training camp and some preseason games right around the corner it will be interesting to see how the Cowboys view and use the run game. There should be some battles at the 3rd and maybe 4th RB position. If I can take a chance and predict the RBs on this team I think it will look like DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar, J.C. Copeland, and Ben Malena. Ryan Williams and Joseph Randle could beat out Malena if they both show something in special teams that Malena doesn’t.
So guys and girls, who do you want on this team for RB depth?