The Dallas Cowboys are undefeated this season when running back DeMarco Murray carries the ball at least 20 times.
In their two wins, Murray averaged 23 rushing attempts per game with 20 rushing attempts coming against the New York Giants and 26 rushing attempts coming against the St. Louis Rams. In their three losses, Murray averaged a little over 12.5 carries per game.
When healthy, Murray can be one of the best running backs in the league and can takes load off of the right shoulder of Tony Romo. This can sets up the play-action pass to deep threats like Dez Bryant. The Cowboys’ under-utilization of a healthy Murray is a mistake that needs to be corrected in the next few games.
Feeding the ball to Murray on a more consistent basis gives the Cowboys their best shot to protect their 28th-ranked defense. The Cowboys will face the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints in the next couple of weeks, who rank eighth, second, ninth and fourth in total offense respectively.
It is going to be vital for the Cowboys to keep the number of offensive possessions these teams get to a minimum to keep Romo from needing to perform any late-game “heroics”.
Murray’s main problem in the past has been his health. He has missed games in the past due to both a left foot sprain in 2012 and a fractured right ankle that cut his rookie season short. Even going back to his days as an Oklahoma Sooners player, he was injured during the opening kickoff of the Big 12 championship game.
Murray’s durability has been questioned throughout his career. So far in 2013, Murray has managed to stay healthy and produce when given the chance.
With the Giants record at 0-5, the Redskins struggling to achieve the same success they had last year and the Eagles surging under new head coach Chip Kelly, it’s the perfect time for the Cowboys to grab the NFC East by the reins.
There is no reason for the Cowboys to have the 20th-ranked rushing attack. Murray has proven this season that he is both healthy and capable of stepping up and being a work-horse running back. The more the Cowboys run the ball, the less time the defense spends on the field — simple as that.
The Cowboys have a blueprint for winnings games, and there should not be any more excuses going forward.