It’s been more than a decade since the Dallas Cowboys have had stability at the running back position. They have been missing that “every-down” back since the departure of Emmitt Smith. The Cowboys have drafted many backs since then but none have come close to having the success that Smith had. Dallas has seen many backs come and go and many of them looked promising early on in their careers. Players like Julius Jones, Marion Barber, and Felix Jones all produced to some extent but they never managed to produce sustained big numbers or even stay healthy.
Cowboys’ quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman have both managed to win Superbowls with the help of a solid running game. Staubach had Tony Dorsett while Aikman had the NFL’s all-time leading rusher in Smith.
Romo has been missing that consistent running back that can produce big numbers. If Tony is ever to make a serious run for a Superbowl title, he’s going to need that solid running back in the backfield. The answer may have come in the third round of last year’s draft.
His name is DeMarco Murray and last season he emerged with a bang. At the time, the selection of another running back was highly controversial. The reason? The Cowboys looked set at the position before the draft as they had what they thought were two starting caliber running backs in Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. That belief soon diminished when both running backs struggled to find the end zone in the first few games of the season. As a result of their struggles, Choice was released and Murray would replace an injured Jones. The Oklahoma alum would explode on the scene after a huge game against the St Louis Rams in which he rushed for a record 253 yards. During that game, Murray showed true potential and looked like the physical and elusive back the Cowboys have been waiting for.
Murray was on pace for well over 1000 yards but his production was cut short due to a season ending injury. He ended the season with 897 yards and 2 touchdowns after playing just 13 games. I believe Murray is the missing piece to this offense, if he can manage to stay healthy. He should be able to produce as great as any running back in league next year; Murray has the talent and has shown glimpses of greatness. Although some can make an argument that today’s pass heavy NFL wont allow Murray to see the production he’s capable of, I believe Murray is talented enough to capitalize on is opportunities.
Murray should be a great asset to the red zone offense that struggled last year. He looks to be the next great Cowboys running back and possibly the greatest offensive weapon since Emmitt Smith. Head Coach Jason Garrett has got to find a way to get Murray the ball more. Romo handing the ball off to him next season will not only help the Cowboys hit the ground running but it will also make them an unstoppable offensive force to be reckoned with.