Cowboys' running game looks good
August, 28, 2011
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Cowboys run defense gave up 81 yards to the Vikings' Adrian Peterson on Saturday night, Dallas' run offense performed well.
As a unit, the Cowboys rushed for 117 yards on 29 carries, but Felix Jones had a strong effort in averaging four yards on five carries, including a 5-yard touchdown run.
Tashard Choice made his preseason debut. He missed the first two games while recovering from a calf injury, and he rushed for only 14 yards on three carries but had two long runs called back because of penalties.
DeMarco Murray, the third-round pick from Oklahoma, led the team in rushing yards with 32 on seven carries. It was Murray's first appearance in a preseason game. He missed nearly three weeks of training camp as he recovered from a hamstring injury suffered during the lockout.
"I had some heavy legs when I first started," said Murray, who didn't get his first carries until the third quarter. "After that, it felt really good to get back out there again."
Jones and Choice looked like a good 1-2 punch Saturday. It hasn't been determined how the carries will be split up, but if the offensive line is able to get a strong push, Jones and Choice should be able to do some damage.
"Those guys out there on the front line they made it happen for us," Jones said. "This is football, this is what we do. Just getting back into it, trying to make it fun and we're going out there doing what we do everyday in practice."
When you look at the big picture of things, the Cowboys' offense performed well this summer, at least the first-team did. Last year, in the preseason, there were concerns about the offense's ability to score points, especially in the run game.
Jones has done an excellent job of hitting holes quickly and making defenders miss either by eluding them or knocking them away.
Choice and Murray also made defenders miss and displayed good speed.
Phillip Tanner, who is fighting for a spot on the roster on special teams, had another strong game. The rookie carried five times for 25 yards. It was the first time Tanner got offensive snaps over Lonyae Miller (three carries for 7 yards) in the summer.
"It was good getting a chance to get back in there to play [and] getting comfortable," Choice said. "We had about 10 or 12 plays where we were able to run it felt good."