In case you’ve been living under a rock, Joseph Randle will start at running back for the Dallas Cowboys in their Week 7 road trip to face the Philadelphia Eagles in a battle for first place in the NFC East. With Lance Dunbar already out with a hamstring injury, Randle steps in for DeMarco Murray, who will also miss Week 7 after spraining his MCL in Week 6. So now we’re seeing headlines like “Randle ready for larger role” but is that really true?
Before Week 6, Randle hadn’t touched the ball in his rookie season, although he’d only suited up for two games prior to that point. However, his debut came in a great situation against a Washington Redskins defense that ranks near the bottom of the NFL barrel in rushing yards allowed per game (123.4) and yards per carry (4.4). Still, the Oklahoma State product only mustered 17 yards on 11 carries for a measly 1.5 yards-per-carry average, although he did score a touchdown. In addition, 14 of the rookie’s yards came on one carry and he didn’t gain more than three on any other attempt, although he did lose yards on multiple tries.
Now to make things fair, Randle primarily only carried the ball to run out the clock in the fourth quarter after the game had been decided. Actually, it’s a wonder the Cowboys ran the ball at that point because that’s what they should have done and Lord knows the ‘Boys rarely take what’s obviously their best option. And they’re not likely to even give Randle a chance to prove himself against an Eagles defense that is right in the middle of the pack in rushing yards allowed per game (105.7) and per attempt (4.0). That’s especially true considering the Eagles have the second-worst passing defense in the league and the Cowboys are trigger-happy most of the time anyway, even when Murray is healthy.
So even though many fans are calling for the Cowboys to trade Murray and/or look for a new starting running back, Randle likely won’t get much of an opportunity to prove he can be that guy. Stranger things have happened, but Philly has been airing it out with Nick Foles under center, so Dallas will likely fall into that trap of a shootout. And considering four of the Cowboys’ next five games are against fellow pass-happy teams, Randle likely won’t ever get the chance to show what he can do.