Dallas Cowboys Do Not Need Another RB


If there’s one thing that’s clear following the Dallas Cowboys first preseason affair against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night, it’s that America’s Team really doesn’t need to bring in another veteran running back – at least not yet.

I think that it’s instinctive for Cowboys fans to watch that first exhibition game each year with much higher expectations than they should. After all, they’ve generally waited between seven and eight months for football and all of a sudden here’s the blue stars on television again.

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We’ve all done it at one time or another.

But the reality is that the first preseason game each year is of no importance whatsoever, at least where the final score in concerned.

Much more critical is watching and evaluating players that you’ve never seen before, mainly rookies but sometimes the slim diet of veterans that may have come from elsewhere the year before. Defensive end Greg Hardy is a great example of that latter description.

The running backs played just fine against San Digeo at Qualcomm Stadium. Starter Gus Johnson and backup Lache Seastrunk might not have helped their cause in making the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn’t say that they hurt themselves too much either.

To start with, the Dallas offensive line, which ignited three Pro Bowl performers a year ago, only utilized two of those against the Chargers. With both starting tackles sitting this game out, along with starting tight end Jason Witten, there was never a reason to expect a ton of yards on the ground from anybody. Factor in the absence of quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant and it becomes impossible to gauge exactly what either Johnson or Seastrunk are really capable of in a real NFL football game.

On top of all those factors, starting center Travis Frederick and guards Ronald Leary and Zack Martin didn’t play very long.

Compounding the situation was two turnovers that cost Johnson carries, the first one on the opening possession and another later in the first half on a Lucky Whitehead fumbled punt return. We can go ahead and estimate at least five to seven carries missed because of those eradicated offensive plays.

Despite a yard-per-carry average of just 2.7 yards, I thought Johnson had a decent night, which included the Cowboys lone touchdown for the evening in the second quarter.

Johnson had a relatively slow start on the first possession in carrying the ball six times for just five yards.

But on the second possession he carried twice for eight yards as third-string passer Dustin Vaughan took over for primary backup Brandon Weeden.

The third possession for Dallas saw Johnson rack up a YPC of 5.3 yards, which included gains of 10 yards and five yards on the touchdown play.

Over the rest of the first half, Johnson only had one more carry on Dallas’ last two possessions.

The biggest concern for Johnson is the injury he suffered that took him out of the game earlier than expected, another reason for the small sample size of his capabilities.

This is simply not enough to give much a of grade either way.

Seastrunk entered the game midway through the third quarter and had a quicker start, but also struggled to maintain consistency as the Cowboys trailed and less and less talent was used on the Dallas offensive line. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Seastrunk has never really seen playing time in the NFL and so he’s still in about the same boat as Johnson is.

Seastrunk averaged 3.2 YPC en route to just 16 yards on five touches.

All in all, it’s not time to panic over who might only amount to a fourth running back for the Cowboys. I think that there’s too much preseason football left to make any kind of judgment just yet.

If we knew right now that Darren McFadden, who’s yet to suit up in camp, will not make the team then I’d say it’s time to think about getting a guy. Since we don’t know that – although we should very soon – we should remember that there’s already five viable running backs in camp.

Yes, health is a bit dicey right now, but let’s see how things turn out by next week in San Francisco as Dallas starters figure to play much of the first quarter against the 49ers before probably playing the entire first half the following week against the Minnesota Vikings at the venue formerly known as Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

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