Cowboys unsure who their starting running back will be

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Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones has said he’s very comfortable with the group of running backs he has on his roster. But what the Cowboys don’t know is which one of those running backs will be primarily responsible for replacing the departed DeMarco Murray.

Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown says he isn’t sure if Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden or Lance Dunbar will be the starter, but he’s confident that some combination of the three of them will add up to a good running game.

“We’re very confident in what we have,” Brown said, via the Dallas Morning News. “We got some very good football players. With the addition of Darren it’s going to be a nice group. I can’t say who is going to be the lead dog right now, but those guys are going to compete and we’re going to do what’s necessary to win games. I think we have three capable guys who can go out and do what we need to do. I’m not concerned about it at all.”

As great as Murray was last season, Randle was also very good in limited action as his backup: Randle gained 343 yards on 51 carries, a whopping 6.7 yards a carry. He would seem to be the likely choice as the starter.

The addition of McFadden to go with Randle and Dunbar gives the Cowboys some depth in the backfield, and those running backs will be running behind the best offensive line in the NFL. Despite the loss of Murray, Brown’s optimism is justified: The Cowboys’ running game should be just fine, even if there’s not a clear-cut starting running back just yet.

71 responses to “Cowboys unsure who their starting running back will be

  1. “The addition of McFadden to go with Randle and Dunbar gives the Cowboys some depth in the backfield”

    —————————————————–

    You mean depth on IR.

  2. and those running backs will be running behind the best offensive line in the NFL. Despite the loss of Murray, Brown’s optimism is justified: The Cowboys’ running game should be just fine, even if there’s not a clear-cut starting running back just yet.
    ———————————–

    1. The best offensive line at the pass rush, not the run. 2. The offensive line cannot think and play for the running back. If the RB has good field vision and can hit the gap they will be fine. Unfortunately for the cowboys, that is not the case. Let’s not pretend the cowboys run game is going to be special this year because it wont be.

  3. It’s the “if” factor. If anybody can stay healthy. DeMarco Murray was a good RB. The Cowboys have a good offensive line. They don’t necessarily need a great RB, but they need a healthy one. I wouldn’t mess around with AP. He looks good on paper, but he’s a head case. I doubt that the coaches want him around. Dez is a headcase too. I think last year was Dallas’ best shot. They might be returning to the 8-8 pack.

  4. They should take a flier on Ahmad Bradshaw….injury prone, but not alot of miles on the tires and should be cheap…low risk

  5. Last year you all said Murray was injury prone and Romo was a choke artist. Career season a defensive depth proved you wrong. After all the moves yal are in for a rude awakening.

    Randle will be a top 20 fantasy player this season.

  6. Kind of like QB’s…if you have three, you really don’t have any. Unless you’re the Eagles of course, who have three studs.

  7. Randle will start. Take it to the bank. Actually, in fantasy football terms, I think Randle makes a really good RB2 if you can get an elite RB1.

    But I really do think the Cowboys offensive line will come back to Earth this year. But, hey, it’s the offseason. Our team is the greatest ever!!

  8. All of MN is laughing at Texas. You really thought you had a chance at AD? BAHAAAA…trade your Murray and get stuck with nothing.

    Not quite Walker trade payback but it feels so good…

  9. Leaning toward drafting randle in 3rd or 4th rd of fantasy draft. Hard to think any higher would make sense. If I wind up with him on my roster, probably will rename my team the “Panty Thieves.”
    Thoughts?

  10. Jerry Jones can average 3.5 yards a carry behind this line before he gets touched. Joe Randle will be in MVP talks this year. He is as strong and faster than Murray. I also think his vision is as good. Behind this line you don’t need 20/20 to see the gap, I could land a helicopter in some of the gaps they made last year. Expect to see Collins pull and lead the rusher a lot. For a big man he is fast! So is Travis and Tyron and all the others

  11. Yeah COMMITMENT to the run game means nothing. In 2014 they ran it 508 times. By contrast, in 2013 they ran it 336 times.
    Of course it matters who carries the ball. Saying otherwise would be ignorant. Saying it doesn’t matter how many carries would be ignorant also.

    Dallas is committed to their offense from last year, and getting close to 500 carries is part of that.

  12. To the earlier commenter- yes, AP is a head case. Fortunately for the Vikes, the one area in his life where he is completely disciplined and focused is in preparing for and playing football. The guy’s an idiot. But he’s an amazing RB playing with a rock of Gibraltar size chip on his shoulder.
    Since he rejoined the team he has said all the right things and is being praised for his leadership in workouts. We don’t know how our respective teams’ seasons will go. However, I would wager a large chunk of cash that the Vikings’ run game will put the Cowboys’ to shame.

  13. By the way, Dallas’ line could be better than last year even if Collins doesn’t win a job. Besides Free, none of those guys have entered the age of the normal ‘prime’ for o-linemen.

  14. I remember NT Bennie Logan of the eagles saying the cowboys offensive line was overrated and everybody laughed at him. I then remember Logan ripping that offensive line to pieces along with the rest of the eagles defensive front. Now cowboys give up the guy that could beat defenders by himself and have what? Randle? lol….. wow

  15. Randle averaged 6.7 ypc last year. Dunbar averaged 3.4 behind the same line. As always, we never know with McFadden.

  16. tinbender2000 says:
    Jun 30, 2015 7:21 PM
    When you have Three starting running backs….
    ———————
    You’re thinking of quarterbacks. It works just fine. Look at the pats colts saints giants sb teams

  17. bobonmycob says:
    Jun 30, 2015 7:28 PM
    I remember NT Bennie Logan of the eagles saying the cowboys offensive line was overrated and everybody laughed at him. I then remember Logan ripping that offensive line to pieces along with the rest of the eagles defensive front. Now cowboys give up the guy that could beat defenders by himself and have what? Randle? lol….. wow

    I take it you forgot about the 2nd game…

  18. Nobody was scared of Murray before last year either. He would barely have been considered a top 15 back. Lets see what he does this year after 500+ touches. His history is of an injury prone RB. Wish him well but let’s wait and see.

  19. Pretty sure randle had more 20+ yard runs with 1/10 of the carries. I dont think it was a bad choice letting murray go…everyone talks about the dez non catch. Go back to the third quarter where murray had a hole like moses parted the sea and peppers reached in with one hand and made him fumble. I dont care if u rush for 2000 yards if u lead the nfl in lost fumbles. That said, cowboys running back core looks awful, shouldve added something in the draft.

  20. Bobonmycob- we’ll just stack 11 in the box now with your pathetic receivers and a quarterback thats had more acl surgeries than the whole dallas team combined.

  21. All these Cowboys haters hailing D Murray like he was the next AP, what was he three years ago before Dallas put a line in front of him? oh I’ll tell you just a third round injury prone running back, don’t get me wrong he had a great season but it also was his contract year along with the fact his first season in which he wasn’t on the sideline in street clothes, good luck in Philly Murray but Randle will get the job done behind that super offensive line.

  22. It’s simple you start Randle until he’s arrested (again)
    Then you play McFadden until he’s hurt (again)
    Then you roll with Dunbar

    That should at least get you to the bye week

  23. commenter says:
    Jun 30, 2015 7:38 PM
    Randle averaged 6.7 ypc last year. Dunbar averaged 3.4 behind the same line. As always, we never know with McFadden.

    ———————————-

    And murray averaged more ypc in 2 of the 3 previous years before everyone starting touting about this “All-World” Cowboys O-line.

    And McFadden was horrible. Granted it was on a horrible Raiders team, but his backup, who eventually became starter, wasn’t nearly as bad.

  24. Hmm…what were all the top paid RBs last year doing in January (Forte, Peterson, McCoy, Foster, Charles)? Say whatever you want, smart teams (the best teams) don’t spend big dollars on RBs because it’s easier to get contributions from a rookie or cheap free agent at a lower cost. The money is better spent elsewhere.

  25. bobonmycob says:
    Jun 30, 2015 6:17 PM
    and those running backs will be running behind the best offensive line in the NFL. Despite the loss of Murray, Brown’s optimism is justified: The Cowboys’ running game should be just fine, even if there’s not a clear-cut starting running back just yet.
    ———————————–

    1. The best offensive line at the pass rush, not the run. 2. The offensive line cannot think and play for the running back. If the RB has good field vision and can hit the gap they will be fine. Unfortunately for the cowboys, that is not the case. Let’s not pretend the cowboys run game is going to be special this year because it wont be.

    _________________

    The cowboys offensive line is way better run blocking then pass blocking. a very simple google search will prove this. You should try watching a football game the cowboys are actually playing in before you spout such wrong facts.

  26. LOL Yep a Cowboys headline and every derp Cowboys hating troll out there comes roaring in spew nonsense. First they haven’t even got to TC YET! OF COURSE they don’t KNOW who the starter will be…YET!
    For you fools who root for the Vikes: the only fools in the nation who HONESTLY thought that JJ and the FO would make some ridiculous trade for AP were you and a handful of other idiots. The rest of us knew better.
    Beagles fans: Selective memory, remember the 1st game when the Cowboys were exhausted by the schedule and forget about the 2nd when they weren’t. Behind a “throw it together” Oline you have a QB and FA who are BOTH injury prone (even you were saying so…LAST YEAR!) We were amazed that he finally made it through an entire season WITHOUT a major injury. Top that off with Miles “hamstrings” Austin, Riley “foot in mouth” Cooper and a rookie. And, the Chipster’s “Hurry up and go 3 & out as fast as you can” offense… News flash, your ST can’t score that many points!
    As to the rest… we’ve heard all of this BEFORE! (As in BEFORE last season.)

  27. They could’ve signed Stevan Ridley for couch change. If GM Jerry didn’t do his scouting on Rotoworld it would’ve been a steal.

  28. Cowboy fans are worried and they should be! 2nd and 9 then 3rd and 7 means the line becomes suspect because they don’t pass protect well and of course when the defenses pin their ears back and hit Romo play after pass play then he starts to throw it up for grabs. Remember he is an injured 35 year il one hit away QB but believe what you want to believe. Once the running game goes back to average the whole offense changes.

  29. One thing I hope is I think the running backs will be fine running and catching the ball. I just hope they remember and can pick up blitz packages to keep romo healthy. Demarco was a very good blocker too.

  30. If I remember correctly, the last running back that didn’t know his assignments and missed a blitz cost Tony romo a broken collar bone and missed the rest of the season. I think it was tashard choice

  31. bobonmycob says:
    Let’s not pretend the cowboys run game is going to be special this year because it wont be.
    =======================

    Let’s not pretend you know the future.

  32. There sure are a lot of people ready to write off McFadden, which is surprising. This in spite of the fact that most everyone acknowledges that the Raiders team is terrible, which one would think might cause most to hesitate rather than rush to judgment. This running back by committee approach could work very well for Dallas, especially for the punishing RB position. If these guys can produce, the Cowboys will have an edge come playoff time, due to less wear-and -tear throughout the year on their backs.

  33. gbrooks88- Murray also had nearly 400 carries last year. Stats show that guys drop off big time the next season after having 300 plus carry seasons. To backup the statement directly above mine, Murray also didn’t play full seasons the previous two years and his ypc stats are inflated due to lack of carries. Murray isn’t worth the money he got but the Cowboys should’ve done more to replace him.

  34. Talk about the fumbles. The fumble in GB cost a TD. D Mac and Randle are homerun hitters. Murry more of a ground and pound. We will see.

  35. I was one calling for the Cowboys to draft Gurley (preferred) or Gordon but they were both gone by 15. That being said, I’m surprised the Cowboys didn’t draft a RB at all…

  36. gbrooks88 says:
    Jun 30, 2015 8:23 PM

    “All these Cowboys haters hailing D Murray like he was the next AP, what was he three years ago before Dallas put a line in front of him? oh I’ll tell you just a third round injury prone running back, don’t get me wrong he had a great season but it also was his contract year along with the fact his first season in which he wasn’t on the sideline in street clothes, good luck in Philly Murray but Randle will get the job done behind that super offensive line.”

    UMMMMMMM, I’m pretty sure that inj prone RB broke the all time single game rushing record for any cowboy ever about 2-3 yrs ago!

  37. 1. The best offensive line at the pass rush, not the run.
    ===

    Exactly incorrect. Their line excels at run blocking, and needs improvement in pass protect.

    Total lack of football knowledge you displayed there.

  38. They should take a flier on Ahmad Bradshaw….injury prone, but not alot of miles on the tires and should be cheap…low risk
    ===

    Bradshaw is productive when healthy. Don’t know if he’ll be added to their opening day roster, but my guess is he’s on speed-dial.

  39. I remember NT Bennie Logan of the eagles saying the cowboys offensive line was overrated and everybody laughed at him. I then remember Logan ripping that offensive line to pieces along with the rest of the eagles defensive front. Now cowboys give up the guy that could beat defenders by himself and have what? Randle? lol….. wow
    ===

    Uh-huh…and with the season on the line, the stellar Bennie Logan and the Eagles D couldn’t stop Dallas even a little bit. 41 minutes of possession, 38 points…

    Bang up job, Big Mouth Bennie! LMAO!

  40. Translation:

    Sending a message that there will be some camp battles for that spot.

  41. I dont care how good you think the line is, all backs are not created equal.Should have keep Murray , there will be a big drop off in Dallas’s run game this year.

  42. According to Cowboy fans, Troy Hambrick could rush for 2k yards behind this line, so everything is all good.

  43. The injury prone jokes are cute until you look back a year and realize that was the same stance on Murray. I don’t think they’ll miss a beat, and I think Philly fans are the ones who should worry if their RB can hold up all year. Actually, they should worry about both of them since they’re both injury prone.

  44. howleyesque says:
    Jun 30, 2015 9:15 PM
    LOL Yep a Cowboys headline and every derp Cowboys hating troll out there comes roaring in spew nonsense. First they haven’t even got to TC YET! OF COURSE they don’t KNOW who the starter will be…YET!
    For you fools who root for the Vikes: the only fools in the nation who HONESTLY thought that JJ and the FO would make some ridiculous trade for AP were you and a handful of other idiots. The rest of us knew better.
    Beagles fans: Selective memory, remember the 1st game when the Cowboys were exhausted by the schedule and forget about the 2nd when they weren’t. Behind a “throw it together” Oline you have a QB and FA who are BOTH injury prone (even you were saying so…LAST YEAR!) We were amazed that he finally made it through an entire season WITHOUT a major injury. Top that off with Miles “hamstrings” Austin, Riley “foot in mouth” Cooper and a rookie. And, the Chipster’s “Hurry up and go 3 & out as fast as you can” offense… News flash, your ST can’t score that many points!
    As to the rest… we’ve heard all of this BEFORE! (As in BEFORE last season.)

    —————————————————————

    What’s with the SHOUTING caps.

    You’re like a loudmouth at a bar. People just stop listening/reading out of sheer annoyance.

  45. realfootballfan says:

    The injury prone jokes are cute until you look back a year and realize that was the same stance on Murray. I don’t think they’ll miss a beat, and I think Philly fans are the ones who should worry if their RB can hold up all year. Actually, they should worry about both of them since they’re both injury prone.

    ———————————————————-

    Lol. there is injury prone and then there is Darren McFadden.

  46. Those folks who think that Randle only had success last year in clean up after Murray had beaten up the defense all game long…. here are some actual facts. I looked at all of Randle’s runs longer than 10 yards and when in the game they occurred. Only two big runs happened in the 4th quarter after Murray had beaten up the defense.

    Of his 10 “long runs” six occurred in the first half, four of those in the 1st quarter.

    Tennessee-
    11 yard run on first carry, mid 1st quarter
    11 yard run, mid 2nd quarter

    New orleans-
    14 yard run, 13 minutes into 3rd quarter

    Seattle-
    38 yard run, half way thru the 1st quarter
    6 yard run, a couple of minutes into the 2nd quarter

    Washington-
    12 yard run, 13 minutes into the 1st quarter

    Jax-
    40 yard run, half way into 3rd quarter

    Chicago-
    17 yard run, 12 minutes into the 3rd quarter

    Colts-
    11 yard run, 1st quarter
    13 yard run, 4th quarter

    Washington-
    65 yard run, end of game

  47. once the season starts and these players prove once and for all they are not starters in the NFL the cowboys will sign Ray Rice and I hope they do.

  48. bspurloc says:
    Jul 1, 2015 9:39 AM

    .
    u mean randle did good after murray pounded and tired out the defenses…
    ———————————————————————
    Randle got more of his carries in the 1st and 3rd quarters when defenses were more rested.
    Just assuming his ypc was from garbage time was a bad take because it just wasn’t true.
    Likely if Randle was drafted this year given his overall talent, the narrative would be different.

    @500 carries and 4.0/YPC that’s 2k.
    Someone will rush for about 1200 and the others will pickup the rest. Dallas isn’t going to be defined with one guy rushing for 1700, rather defined on total yards rushing, including the 60 or so Romo pitched in.

  49. Have to be concerned with the health of McFadden for an entire season and Randall has been effective as a complimentary back to Murray but not as the work horse. Dunbar is more of a situational receiver out of the back field.

    The way I see it, if McFadden doesn’t come through, it’s going to be an issue for them.

  50. 2 words…Matt Forte. Jerry needs to take his best shot at a Super Bowl this season. Offer a second that could become a first if Forte plays in all 16 games and the Cowboys make the playoffs, both of which would be likely to be achieved.

    The Bears won’t re-sign him after this year for any kind of long term deal (Fox and Gas are both back-by-committee guys), and if he performs well, Jerry has no issue rewarding players.

    Bears need draft picks to rebuild the roster that Lovie and Angelo destroyed, and Emery perpetuated, and the Boys have only a year or two before they start losing guys named Romo and Witten to retirement.

    Besides, this offense would be scary with an open field receiver like Forte to complement Dez and Witten…Defenses would be totally screwed if they bring pressure.

  51. Let me alleviate some of your concern –

    800 yards before contact for Murray last year. That means he was barely more than a 1000 yard back.

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