Dallas Cowboys: Player calls moving forward without DeMarco Murray easy
The biggest question surrounding the Dallas Cowboys as they began training camp last week was who will emerge to replace former starting running back DeMarco Murray in the Cowboys offensive backfield. That answer became slightly more clearer when free agent signee Darren McFadden, who is believed to be in a two-horse race with Joseph Randle for the starting position, was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP) after suffering an injury to his hamstring. That news, plus the recent release of practice squad running back Ryan Williams left the Cowboys with a fairly thin depth chart to start training camp practices off with.
It does, however, insure plenty of extra work for the other prospective runners on the roster. Those players being Randle, Lance Dunbar, Lache Seastrunk and the newly signed Gus Johnson. But just as many observers have concerns about the starting running back position in Dallas, an integral player on the Cowboys offensive line believes moving forward without Murray will actually be…well, easy.
"“It seems pretty easy to me, the way we are looking at it and what we’re going to do,” Cowboys center Travis Frederick explained when he was asked about replacing Murray during a radio interview with The Ticket (KTCK-AM 1310 and 96.7 FM) via the Dallas Morning News last week. “Not necessarily in replacing DeMarco, but just moving forward in what we have. We have such a great group of guys especially in the running game, if we’re talking running game in the perimeter, with what we’re doing in the passing game and running game that make it work for people.”"
And Travis Frederick should know. The Pro Bowl center has a front row seat when it comes to evaluating the abilities of the Cowboys running backs. If Frederick believes the team can duplicate the success Murray had last season, who are we to question him?
And who can blame Frederick for being confident? When the Cowboys elected to not re-sign Murray this offseason, the team’s faith appeared to be more in their young, dominate offensive line over their injury-prone starting running back. Dallas’ offensive line features three Pro Bowl players, who were all first round selections by the Cowboys. This is a talented bunch, who can also recognize talent when they see it.
"“The talent that I’ve seen out of the guys that are playing with us right now,” Frederick continued. “It’s been really exciting seeing Darren [McFadden] doing what he’s done in a limited sense. And Joseph [Randle] is a guy where you see those flashes. You can see what he really can do. I’m excited to see him get those touches. Lance Dunbar is a guy who’s real exciting. When he gets the ball in his hands, you never really know what’s going to happen. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens. It’s going to flush out here in camp and it’s going to be fun.”"
Frederick is a big reason why the Cowboys were successful in the running game last year, ranking second in the NFL in rushing yards with 2,354. The 24-year old center out of Wisconsin was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2014. He was also placed on NFL’s All-Pro second team. Pro Football Focus actually ranked Frederick as the top player at his position in run blocking last season.
With McFadden temporarily sidelined, third-year running back Joseph Randle has emerged as the current favorite to become the heir apparent in Dallas. And Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones all but confirmed that assumption during training camp’s opening press conference.
"“We feel that in Randle we have a player that has the potential, and we base that not based on what he did at Oklahoma State or how we drafted him but by literally being with him as a teammate around here for the last two years,” said Jones via ESPN.com. “But he has the potential to be the kind of back that would step in there and be a No. 1 back. If he were not here, then I wouldn’t feel as good as we go into the season about what might happen.”"
That’s an exciting prospect given the 23-year old running back averaged a whopping 6.7 yards per carry last season. And all of those carries were in relief of the NFL’s leading rusher, Murray. Now, the question is can Randle keep it together long enough off-the-field to become the superstar Jones believes him to be on it.
Next: Dallas Cowboys: This powerful, young running back can make the roster