Cowboys newest running back is more bust than boom


Unfortunately, the truth about the Dallas Cowboys newest running back is that his career has been more bust than boom so far.

When it comes to new Dallas Cowboys running back Robert Turbin, there seems to be many differing opinions. Some seem to believe the fourth-year back out of Utah State hasn’t gotten enough opportunities to shine, spending most of his career backing up Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. Others seem to think the 25-year old has simply squandered those opportunities. The truth likely falls somewhere in between. But it is a fact that Turbin career has been more bust than boom so far.

First, let’s preface this debate with the fact Turbin was a hot commodity after his stint with the Cleveland Browns earlier this season. He had tryouts with both the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, and was nearly on a plane to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers when he got the call from his agent that the Cowboys had signed him earlier this week. So Turbin still holds value for many NFL teams.

The fact Turbin was waived by the Browns isn’t that much of an indictment. This is the same team that cut Patriots running back Dion Lewis last season. After watching his appearances in three Browns games this season, it’s my personal opinion that Cleveland’s front office gave up way too early on the veteran runner. And Around The NFL writer Marc Sessler agreed.

"“While Duke Johnson has been a juicy addition to the passing game, the Browns simply don’t possess a runner you can sit back and hand the ball to from wire to wire — something they seemed to promise fans all summer,” Sessler wrote on the league’s official site after the veteran back’s release. “From that angle, Turbin deserved a longer look.”"

When the downhill runner committed to the hole, Turbin often found short yardage success. When he tried to dance in the backfield, the Browns offensive line often failed him. It didn’t help that Turbin wasn’t quite 100% healthy during his time in C-Town as he was still recovering from an ankle injury. And the argument as to why Turbin was released from Cleveland, too many fumbles, is a fairly flimsy one. Officially, he’s only fumbled twice in his four-year career.

Where Turbin has been more bust than boom are in his numbers. Despite entering the league in 2012, the fourth round selection by the Seahawks has never once scored a rushing touchdown in 51 game appearances. And Turbin has recorded just one 100+ yard game. That was in his rookie season during a 58-0 blowout over the Arizona Cardinals. On the flip side of that coin, that’s the only time Turbin has had 20 carries in a single game in his career. In fact, he’s never had more than 11 carries in a contest since.

There is a reason for his limited carries though. Nicknamed “two-yard” Turbin by Seahawk fans, he looks like Jerome Bettis from the waist up. But he has the legs of a much smaller player, making for far too many very short or even negative running plays. The longest run in Turbin’s four-year career is for 26 yards.

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The hope is, Turbin will get a much bigger opportunity in Dallas with only the often-injured Darren McFadden and rookies Rod Smith and Trey Williams on the running back depth chart. And behind the Cowboys offensive line, maybe the young back can prove to be more boom than bust for America’s Team this season. But Dallas fans should certainly temper their expectations.