Cowboys – Emmitt and LT were right about DeMarco Murray


Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson agree — DeMarco Murray left yards on the field last season with the Cowboys. How is that so hard to accept?

Perhaps it’s the fact DeMarco Murray had so many dazzling runs, or maybe it’s that the 2014 All-Pro was the league’s leading rusher with 1845 regular season rushing yards, but some people are having problems accepting DeMarco Murray could have done more last season for the Cowboys.

Before we dive in, let’s clear some things up first – DeMarco Murray had an absolutely fantastic season last year with the Cowboys. Yes, the offensive line did great, and yes, Dez Bryant consistently forced double coverage. They unquestionably helped DeMarco with his achievement, but DeMarco still deserves all the credit in the world.

Now let’s move past that.

DeMarco Murray was exceptional at the tough yards but was less-than-exceptional at the easy yards

Just because DeMarco Murray was great in 2015, doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been better. Those are not mutually exclusive evaluations. LT and Emmitt know that because they were once great. Even entrenched in their own personal greatness, they likely knew when they could have been better from time to time. Great can be greater.

The heir apparent, Joe Randle, started the whole “controversy” in May by pointing out that “there was a lot of meat left on the bone”.

Randle simply said, what many of us who watch and grade film have been seeing for years, DeMarco Murray notoriously leaves yards on the field. Even some of his biggest games I’ve pointed out that Murray looks extremely uncomfortable in the open field and could have gained more.

DeMarco seems to avoids the open field like the plague. He often opts to seek out contact or veer out of bounds, rather than run free and get caught from behind.

Regardless of the legitimacy of the message, Joe Randle felt a backlash for his comments. After all, who did this underwear-stealing  knucklehead think he was, criticizing the Cowboys’ best RB since Emmitt Smith?

Then Emmitt Smith spoke up last week, echoing much of the same sentiment,

"“I saw some opportunities there that was left on the football field where he could’ve had 2,500 yards…, said Emmitt."

Even the great Emmitt was met with anger by fans and media. People called him “jealous” and “hater”, and worse. Then LaDainian Tominson joined in, talking to the Fort Worth Star Telegram and backing up his friend and colleague,

"“As a guy who watches a lot of film, Emmitt is correct,” LT said. There was a lot of times, and DeMarco is a very physical runner, and instead of making that last guy miss and taking it 50 or 60, he would try and run him over. That’s just his style and he would end up getting tackled for 20 instead of 50.”"

Is this a vast conspiracy of disrespect? Of course not. It’s an honest assessment from people in-the-know. All three of these players are the first to say how great DeMarco was last season for the Cowboys – they are just pointing out what he could have done better.

The truth is DeMarco Murray was exceptional at the tough yards but was less-than-exceptional at the easy yards. Countless times, DeMarco was met in the backfield, and countless times he turned a negative play into a positive play. Very few players have the ability to do that in the NFL.

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Joe Randle can’t do that, Darren McFadden can’t do that, Lance Dunbar can’t do that… But what these players can do (especially Randle), is make the second level miss and take it to the house.

Those are the yards everyone is talking about. The tough yards? DeMarco did everything and more with those tough yards. It’s the easy yards that all of us have noticed over the years.

It’s ok to admit that DeMarco Murray left opportunities on the field last year. You can think that, AND at the same, still think he was great last year. Emmitt’s 2,500 yard estimate may be a little bit of a stretch, but the message remains true.

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