Nov 4, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Lance Dunbar (25) runs the ball in the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys’ Weapon No One is Talking About

The Dallas Cowboys will enter the 2014 season with offensive option aplenty. Lost in the mix of talented playmakers, stands the Cowboys’ 5’8” secret weapon – Lance Dunbar.

Maybe not a secret to Dallas Cowboys fans, Dunbar is generally unheard of outside of Cowboys Nation. That may change shortly…

Third year running back Lance Dunbar enters the 2014 season with high hopes. Despite very limited game experience the RB out of North Texas flashed enough potential to have locked up a roster spot and a role on this 2014 Cowboys squad.

Dunbar may not be a very intimidating presence but the kid is lightning in a bottle; able to take a draw or a screen to house from anywhere on the field. Injures have prevented him from establishing himself on the offense but he has the potential to single-handedly transform this offense into a truly dynamic force.

Steve Hunt from Fox Sports Southwest reported earlier this summer that the Dallas Cowboys, and specifically RB coach Gary Brown, has great expectations for the diminutive Dunbar.

“Well, he’s a guy that’s going to be a complete weapon,” Brown said. “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 not just a specialty guy.”

If this description leaves images of Darren Sproles dancing in your head, you are not alone. Many inside and outside the organization are gushing over the possibilities (provided he can stay healthy).

Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Lance Dunbar (25) runs the ball in the first quarter of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame game against the Miami Dolphins at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

A package containing the versatile Dunbar could confuse the defense and subsequently the way they select personal and call plays. If Dunbar enters the huddle, defenses won’t know whether he will line up on the line as a WR or as a HB. He could also go in motion from any starting spot in order to manipulate matchups and expose defenses.

If he takes the field in a 12 personnel package (2TE), the Cowboys could opt to go empty backfield with Dunbar lined up wide. With the TEs, WRs, and Dunbar all running routes, the defense will be at a major disadvantage if forced to cover using LBs.

Against the same 12 personnel package, if the opposing defense uses extra DBs to cover the pass (rather than the LBs), the Cowboys could keep both TEs bunched in to block, and run Dunbar between the tackles. This would also put the defense at a disadvantage since they will have less LBs on the field against a run.

June 11, 2013; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Lance Dunbar (25) makes a catch during minicamp at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dunbar provides matchup nightmares to defenses and will keep them guessing every time he’s inserted. He can pass-block effectively and he’s a great safety value for Tony Romo as a check-down threat.

He’s not capable of carrying the full load, by any means. Dunbar is the third down/change-of-pace RB on this team.

DeMarco Murray will get his, and so will Dunbar. Even if Murray misses time, don’t expect Dunbar to pick up the slack.

Dunbar is a unique weapon the Cowboys plan to take advantage of this season. He has a defined role and the entire league is about to see what it is.

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email SportDFW at [email protected] and you may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Don’t forget to include your first name.

 

Tags: Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray Lance Dunbar

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