Stephen Jones: Cowboys More Committed To Running Game Than Ever


The Dallas Cowboys sound more and more like a club that is fully satisfied with the current players at their running back position, regardless of what the media or even fans think. Across the board, they really seem to believe that they can replace last year’s production from former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray with the players on their roster right now.

It’s certainly no small task. Last season, Dallas was the second best rushing franchise in the NFL, racking up 2,354 yards on the ground, averaging 147.1 yards per game. This fact helped them go undefeated on the road last season, and end the year with a 12-4 record.

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The year before, the Cowboys running game was ranked a lowly 24th, and the team went 8-8 for the third straight season. The main difference between 2013 and last year, outside of the upgrade of first round selection Zack Martin at guard, was a healthy Murray.

Playing in all 16 games for the first time in his four-year career, Murray led the NFL with 1,845 rushing yards on 392 carries. He scored a career-high 13 touchdowns and had 57 receptions to boot.

But Dallas opted not to re-sign the pricey free agent this offseason, losing Murray to their NFC East rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles instead. Ever since, media and fans alike have been clamoring for America’s Team to find their next great running back, either in free agency, via a trade or during the draft.

The Cowboys have elected to do none of the above so far this offseason. And according to Dallas’ vice president Stephen Jones, their happy to continue doing so.

"“I don’t necessarily think there is anything on the horizon out there that’s going to change,” Jones told The Blitz when asked about a possible trade for a running back in the near future. “But at the same time, player acquisition is 365 days a year. And we are very comfortable with the running backs we have. We think it will be a very competitive situation with the four backs we have from last year. You add Darren McFadden to that and it can make for a very interesting training camp and season. I think Darren McFadden has a chance to have a great season, just as good a chance as DeMarco Murray had the season he had last year. He’s just got to get out there, stay well, really get in behind this offensive line that the organization’s put together.”"

Jones and the Cowboys are putting a lot of faith in McFadden, a player who has been infamously plagued by injury. The former fourth overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft has reached the 1,000 rushing yard mark only once in his disappointing seven-year career. In fact, 2014 was the first time McFadden actually played a full 16-game season.

Despite Jones’ glowing comments about McFadden’s potential, it’s expected to be a running back-by-committee in Dallas that will actually try to match or exceed the Cowboys run totals from last season. Running backs Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams are all expect to contribute on some level.

Regardless who is running the ball, the Cowboys as an organization have seen the light when it comes to the benefits of having a solid ground game.

"“I think we’ll be able to run the football. We are certainly more committed than ever,” Jones continued. “I think if you talk to Tony Romo, if you talk to Scott Linehan, Jason Garrett; everybody’s totally committed to being physical and running the football. Just because we didn’t sign a DeMarco Murray or replace him with a ‘high draft choice’ doesn’t mean we are not more committed than we’ve ever been to to running the football.”"

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