Cowboys taking a big risk with DeMarco Murray


Last week, rookie DeMarco Murray had the best single day for any Cowboys running back in franchise history.  But with Tashard Choice suddenly gone and Felix Jones out with an ankle injury, the Cowboys are taking a significant risk by making Murray the lead dog.

Murray had more than his share of injuries during four years at Oklahoma, and the inability of a tailback to show durability at the college level usually translates to an inability to stay healthy at the NFL level, given that he’s being hit by much bigger and stronger and faster grown men in the pro game.

In his redshirt freshman year of 2007, Murray suffered a dislocated kneecap late in the season, missed the rest of the campaign, and also was unavailable for spring practice.  In 2008, he suffered a hamstring injury during the opening kickoff of the Big 12 championship and missed the BCS title game a month later.  Even last year, when he started 14 games, there were questions about his availability for the Big 12 championship game due to a knee injury.  That could be one of the reasons why Murray, who rushed for 1,214 yards last season, was on the board in round three of the April draft.

“People always want to mention the injuries, but I missed four games in four years and that was in the beginning of my career, and I had no [serious] problems after that,” Murray said in April, via Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News.

Still, when Murray showed up for work after the lockout, he started his career on the non-football injury list with a hamstring problem.

Though it doesn’t mean Murray will shatter or otherwise break tonight against the Eagles, it means that he’s likely not destined to become the next Emmitt Smith, whose best attribute wasn’t blazing speed or uncanny elusiveness but an ability to suit up and play — and play hard — every Sunday for years and years.

And if Murray goes down tonight against the Eagles, the only other option will be undrafted Phillip Tanner, who as Peter King pointed out during Saturday’s Notre Dame halftime update never rushed for more than 1,000 yards in four seasons at Middle Tennessee State.

King also pointed out that the decision to dump Choice was fueled by the fact that he doesn’t play special teams — and by a perception that he was moping this week after Murray’s 253-yard breakout performance against the Rams.

Cowboys fans will be moping if/when Murray’s breakout is followed by a breakdown of his body.

42 responses to “Cowboys taking a big risk with DeMarco Murray

  1. Thanks for the info. I wasn’t aware. It’ll be interesting to see how Murray follows up last week’s performance.

  2. Choice and Jones are out with injuries and Dallas is “taking a big risk” with Murray? Any suggestions of what Garrett should do exactly?

  3. Another day. Another crack at Cowboy fans.


    The story didn’t really even need it. If you wanna make the case that DeMarco Murray is injury prone, fine. But Tanner has actually played fairly well in short minutes. That’s how Tashard Choice got on the field. He was an unknown player that started and came in and played fairly well against several top defenses in ’08.

  4. It’s not a mistake. You don’t draft a guy to limit his time, despite his talent. They need to find out if he can endure the punishment and carry the load. A bigger mistake would be never giving him his time and never knowing for sure. They’ll find out soon enough.

  5. A big risk? Come on.

    It’s week 8. Last year Green Bay started James Starks throughout the playoffs… a 6th round rookie who was injured all year.

    Throw the ball, just be smart about it.

  6. What risk? Tashard Choice numbers declined, and Felix Jones was hurt. Murray put up 253 yards and even Tony Dorsett proclaimed he’s the real deal.

  7. “it means he’s likely not destined to become the next Emmitt Smith…” And exactly who in the league right now is? What a foolish thing to write. I’ll settle for half of Emmit Smith over the next few years and Murray will have proven to be a real steal in the draft.

  8. One performance albeit a great performance doesn’t make this kid for real, I scored 30 points in a basketball game against my 6 yr old. The rams are the 6 yr old of the nfl. If he does it a few weeks in a row than that’s a different story.

  9. I was thinking the same thing when it came to Murray. He was a great talent at Oklahoma but he could never stay healthy. What will happen if he faces a hard hitting NFL defense?

  10. @ mike83ri: Foster was a talent at Tennessee so his ‘breakout’ wasn’t a surprise. I never heard of Tanner so I hope for the best

  11. He is the real deal. The fact that he followed Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma and didn’t look bad by comparison is a good thing. Peterson had durability questions and still gets nicked up from time to time, and Murray will too, but Stoops looks for the home run hitter, and that is the chance you take.

  12. So a guy who misses 5 of 55 college games is injury prone. The guy only owns every stastitical record except passing in OU history. I think that shows he was relatively healthy and didn’t Peterson have a great freshman year and separated his shoulder and missed extended time his next two seasons. With better strength and conditioning coaches and facilities I don’t see the corrolation to injuries in college being a huge problem in the NFL or injury problems at all in oaklahoma for this guy

  13. greymares says:
    Oct 30, 2011 9:53 AM
    haven’t you heard all the experts say the Eagles don’t hit anybody.

    now you funny too!

    the hype and stupid statement of VY over shadows the real additions of the Eagles off season were on the defense. Babin, Jenkins, CBs NA and DRC , no off season, history would tell you that it will take time for this side of the ball to come together. the time is now.
    Go Birds!

  14. I saw the headline and you got my ‘click’. But where exactly is the supporting statements that the Cowboys are taking even a small risk by cutting Choice?

    If Murray gets hurt in the 1st quarter, the Boys are in trouble even if Choice is still on the roster. Jones should be back in a week, two tops, right? So…where’s this big risk?

    The rookie is talented enough to get the starter’s share of carries in any given week. Once Jones returns, that’s one heck of a 2-back tandem. No worries, no risk, stupid writing.

  15. Well, based on what I read, it sounds like Murray gets hurt towards the end of the season so, with fantasy football season not as long as an actual NFL regular season, I should be golden.

  16. Not gonna be the next Emmitt Smith? Fo realz?

    FWIW Emmitt’s durability wasn’t his best attribute. His best attributes allowed him to be so durable. His vision and the ability to make subtle moves that turned big hits into glancing blows.

  17. The only risk I see the Cowboys taking is putting Romo on the field in the 4th Quarter.


    Romo’s 4th quarter passer rating is over 100.

  18. One performance albeit a great performance doesn’t make this kid for real, I scored 30 points in a basketball game against my 6 yr old. The rams are the 6 yr old of the nfl.


    Has anybody else scored 30 points on your 6 year old? What if I told you that your neighbor Christian Laettner could only score 10 on your six year old? The point is that no *team* has been able to hang 253 on the Rams, much less an individual RB.

    Eagles 236 yards
    Giants 119 yards
    Ravens 167 yards
    Redskins 196 yards
    Packers 90 yards

    This doesn’t mean that Murray is the next Emmitt Smith but it does mean that your analogy is pretty stupid.

  19. trbowman says: Oct 30, 2011 10:53 AM

    It’s not a big risk at all.

    Is that like the Bucs letting Cadillac go?

    Blount out of the game, so they went with Graham. How did that work out last week?

  20. Everytime a cowboy player has a break out game he becomes super star ….. and than reality strikes with flop and choking….Murray choks against Eagles and gets traded end of season. Another CHOKER!!!!

  21. Demarrco Murray had an excellent game and theres no doubt about it! However I would`nt over value his performance and be lead to believe he is going to have this type of game every week.I would`nt beat my chest over having this type of game against the Rams either.Going by Murray`s injury history its only a matter of time before he will be put on the IR list!…..And please dont compare him to Emmit Smith based on 1 game,He has a million miles to go to be even talked about in the same conversation with Emmit!!!!!……Do you notice how Cowboy fans often over rate and over hype some of their players???? Its not just them the media is guilty of this buffoonery as well!

  22. @moneyfool11 – that’s not a real opinion it’s just hating. I guess I do that against the Steelers but Ben usually proves me right.

    Let this kid breathe. The kid isn’t the only optin in Dallas (Witten, austn, dez) so he doesn’t take on pressure to be the Cowboys savior. Just don’t turn the ball over and play 1/2 as good as last week.

    Eagles have their issues too but should be a great game.

  23. What about a replacement for Romo? Apparently he is a messiah in football, so I don’t see that happening. And a rib injury doesn’t make him warrior, the shot of cortozone did. Heck give em all a shot and watch them feel like they are on top of the world, aka “American’s Team” lmao on that one. Who ever put that in the ? star states heads. Texas needs a fence around it to keep the aliens from invading “america”.

  24. Texas needs a fence around it to keep the aliens from invading “america”.


    If Texas weren’t part of the US you’d be eating dirt for dinner every night and paying $8 a gallon for gas.

  25. the hype and stupid statement of VY over shadows the real additions of the Eagles off season were on the defense. Babin, Jenkins, CBs NA and DRC , no off season, history would tell you that it will take time for this side of the ball to come together.


    Yeah Cowboys got a new coach and new players and dealt with the lockout, too. Got any more excuses?

  26. I would be upset at paying that much for gas if I drove. I live in a city that doesn’t require one to get around. Which means you are a hillbilly that probably lives in the armpit of america, Texas.

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