NFL Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar WIll Flourish Under Scott Linehan

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Getty Images

Lance Dunbar is a young, explosive player packed with a lot of potential. He has yet to find a consistent role in the Dallas Cowboys‘ offense, but Scott Linehan may be exactly what he needs to realize that potential.

Going into last year, some people around the organization mentioned Dunbar could be the next Darren Sproles. That seems like high praise for a guy who has 51 total carries and 317 total yards in his three-year career.

He did show some of that exciting potential as he ripped off a 45-yard run in last year’s Thanksgiving Day game against the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, later in the game, he tore his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). That ended his season and forced him to start back on the road to recovery.

Many view Linehan as an offensive coordinator who is going to pass the ball all over the place and neglect the run game. His history shows that he uses both components of the offense to his advantage.

So, will Dallas finally achieve the elusive “balance” that fans have been begging for?

He has displayed a good history of using a stable of running backs to use in both the running and passing game. While with the Minnesota Vikings he had players like Michael Bennett, Robert Smith and Moe Williams. He made those guys effective players even with Randy Moss catching touchdowns left and right.

He used a multiple backs with the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions, plugging in players like Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell and developing a layered offense with backs who can run and catch the ball out of the backfield.

There is no shortage of talent in the Dallas backfield. DeMarco Murray will be the starter, but he will be pushed by Ryan Williams, Dunbar and Joseph Randle. Each of these young players have great skills that they bring to the table, but together they can be very potent.

The backfield isn’t crowded — it just has different layers. Having multiple backs will also allow for the players to stay healthy. They won’t suffer from the wear and tear other backs in the league might. Plus, if one goes down the season won’t be over.

If healthy, Dunbar will be a household name by the end of the year. He has the ability to take it to the house on any possession. Linehan will move him around in formations and get him the ball in space so he can produce those explosive plays the offense needs.

Matt Banks is a Dallas Cowboys contributing writer for You can follow him on Twitter @MattBanks12, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google+ Network.