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Thursday, September 19, 2013
Murray's ability to avoid tackles questioned

By Tim MacMahon

The Dallas Cowboys’ problems with running the ball begin with poor blocking.

Murray
That was the case last season, when the Cowboys ranked second-to-last in the league in rushing offense, setting a franchise record for futility. That was the case again Sunday in Kansas City, when DeMarco Murray gained only 25 yards on 12 carries.

“They weren’t really moving anybody off the ball,” former NFL pro personnel director Louis Riddick said during a Wednesday appearance on the "Fitzsimmons & Durrett" show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.

But Riddick, an ESPN analyst now, doesn’t believe Murray should avoid blame. That’s because he doesn’t see Murray avoiding tacklers nearly often enough.

“DeMarco is a hard runner, but I have always had some issues with DeMarco because he is very, very, very straight-line,” said Riddick, who served as pro personnel director with the Eagles and Redskins. “He has no ability to make people miss.

“As a matter of fact, you saw numerous times that there were some holes that DeMarco could have got through, but he is a guy who has to gather himself to really make hard, sharp cuts to exploit those running lanes. Sometimes it looks like he’s leaning so far forward he’s stumbling; his head’s down and he’ll just run into the back of his own lineman, run into holes where it’s obviously clogged up and he’s not able to move laterally.

“I don’t know if they have anybody on their roster that can really execute those type of cuts the way you want a running back to be able to, especially when the window of opportunity opens and closes really fast. I think [Lance] Dunbar is the guy who’s most able to do that.”