Aug 29, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden (20) runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium. Minnesota won 28-14. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Running Backs
Enough talk about the departure of running DeMarco Murray to the Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s time now to focus on the stable of talent that currently resides in Dallas-Ft.Worth in the Cowboys backfield.
No, we didn’t see too much of these guys during the preseason and saw nothing of the latest running back addition, Christine Michael from the Seattle Seahawks. There were a few glimpses here and there, but just not much to go on.
I’m not a believer that it matters a whole lot who starts this game against the Giants, or the following game at Philadelphia.
I don’t exactly subscribe to the theory that any running back can replace Murray. If this ideology was true, then the Dallas offense of the early and mid 1990s wouldn’t have all but shut down when Emmitt Smith was unavailable from time to time.
In this case, Murray is no Emmitt Smith.
In going this route, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has his top two running backs basically performing in the role that they are cut out for.
Jul 30, 2015; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle (21) during training camp at River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Randle has always been the primary backup in Dallas and this is the role he seems best suited to play. His pass protection skills aren’t exactly top-notch and it’s not like he hasn’t thrived in this role. There’s really no evidence I can see that states that he’s ready to carry the football 20-plus times per game.
If healthy – a big if – McFadden is built like a featured running back. His measurements are strikingly similar to those of Murray and so is his running style. He’s got better height and bulk to handle all of the responsibilities that go along with playing the majority of first and second downs than Randle does.
The biggest advantage for the Cowboys in this particular game is the fact that they’ll be attacking on the ground in waves. Running back is arguably the most physically demanding position in all of football and the idea that Dallas can use any one of four tailbacks in order to help move the offense could be huge.
Considering the previously discussed problems facing New York on the defensive side of the ball, it’s a certainty that the Cowboys will execute 20-plus carries in this game, regardless of how the game begins.
I expect the Giants defense to play tough in the early going. This is when fatigue has yet to set in and it might take a quarter or two before the Cowboys start breaking off some bigger carries. But the Giants have to honer this threat in order to stay in this game, and this is where the passing game could end up breaking the game open – remember that lack of a pass rush that they’re going to have when rushing just four.
It’s just a matter of time before the running backs start eating up Big Blue on the ground.
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