Could Joseph Randle Produce For The Cowboys Like DeMarco Murray?

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Oct 5, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle (21) runs with the ball against Houston Texans cornerback Andre Hal (29) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After leading the NFL in rushing through the first five games of the 2014 regular season, there is an increasing pressure mounting on the Dallas Cowboys to extend the contract of their star running back, DeMarco Murray. The former third round pick out of Oklahoma is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of this season.

Could Randle produce numbers similar to Murray behind this offensive line? Probably.

No doubt, part of the team’s hesitance to sign Murray to a long term deal earlier was the fact he has missed 11 total games due to injury in his first three seasons in the league. But could another factor be a belief by this coaching staff that reserve running back Joseph Randle could have similar success behind this talented offensive line?

ESPN’s Todd Archer brought up this very point in a recent article titled Five Wonders: What would Joseph Randle do?

"“I wonder if the Cowboys believe Joseph Randle can do a lot of what Murray is doing. I’m not saying Randle would have five straight 100-yard games and lead the NFL in rushing, but I’m wondering if the Cowboys believe Randle could be a 1,200-yard back in this system and with this line. I don’t mean to minimize Murray, but we’ve seen running backs’ values drop considerably. The days of a Marion Barber contract with the Cowboys are over…For years with the Denver Broncos, Mike Shanahan plugged runners into a zone system similar to what the Cowboys use and they ran for 1,000 yards…I’m just wondering if the Cowboys are thinking the same thing.”"

If the Cowboys’ coaching staff really had this belief, you’d certainly expect more carries for Randle. Especially considering the huge amount of snaps being absorbed by the injury-prone Murray on a weekly basis. But the fact is, the former fifth round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2013 has barely been used this season. Here are Randle’s played snaps so far this season, in order of games played: 0, 7, 2, 7, 3. And these snap totals also include his special teams’ plays too!