5 Wonders: Helping DeMarco Murray

October, 9, 2012
10/09/12
11:30
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- It’s a quick turnaround for Five Wonders after pushing the series back last week because of the bye, but now it’s back to original programming with its Tuesday spot.

So here we go, on to the Week 6 wonders:

** I wonder if the Cowboys watched some of the games over the bye and came away with different ideas in running the ball. Or at least looked at the statistics. When the Cowboys have three wide receivers on the field, they have picked up 100 yards on 23 carries. When they have two tight ends on the field, they have 68 yards on 35 carries. Try as people might to say DeMarco Murray was at his best with Tony Fiammetta as his lead blocker, he’s actually been better without a fullback and the field is spread. This year he has 70 yards on 16 carries in three-wide packages. Last year he had 224 yards on 22 carries, including the 91-yard touchdown vs. St. Louis with three wides on the field. Garrett wants to be known as a power running team, but it’s just not happening right now. I wonder if they would be better served to run more out of 11 personnel going forward.

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What aspect of the Cowboys' offense has been most troubling?

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** I wonder how much more patience Jason Garrett will have with the offensive line. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said on KRLD-FM on Monday that he felt the line was coming together and that it played OK against Chicago. I don’t think he was being polite, but the bar was so low at the start of that Bears’ game that it did not have to go that high. The Cowboys can’t view the possible return of Phil Costa as a game changer. He might know what to do, but can he do it? Coaches tell us the offseason matters and training camp matters. Well, Mackenzy Bernadeau had none of the former and a little of the latter because of injury. Does he get time to get comfortable or does Garrett look at Derrick Dockery sooner rather than later? At some point in his accountability preaching Garrett will have to take the game away from somebody and not just the threat of taking it away. He has not made lineup changes for reasons not related to injury. We’ll see if he does it soon.

** At some point Sunday I wonder if Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones will look at Baltimore safety Ed Reed and wonder, what if? In 2002, the Cowboys picked Roy Williams with the No. 8 overall pick. The Ravens took Reed with the No. 24 overall pick. Reed is still playing. Williams is enjoying his second year of retirement. This isn’t to rip the Cowboys for taking the wrong safety because they weren’t the only team to skip over Reed, who some might say is among the best safeties to ever play the game. For a few years, it looked like both teams hit on their picks with Williams making the Pro Bowl from 2003-07 and earning one All-Pro honor. But then it just fell apart for him for reasons that remain a mystery to some at Valley Ranch. But Reed has been made to the Pro Bowl eight times and is a five-time All-Pro. He has 59 career interceptions. What I like most is 1,506 return yards in those picks. He is a threat to score when the ball is in his hands. He might freelance some but he sure makes a ton of plays and the Cowboys have not seen that from the safety position in a long time.

** Brian Moorman is likely to be the Cowboys’ punter Sunday at Baltimore, but he’s on borrowed time once Chris Jones returns from a knee sprain. Let’s say this is his last game for argument’s sake. How do the Cowboys fill that roster spot? They need some safety help, as has been documented in the past. But finding help is difficult, which is what led the team to special teamer Eric Frampton a few weeks ago. Offensive line is another possibility. But I wonder if it’s not too early to start the poaching process and look at other teams’ practice squads for help. Usually teams do that later in the year with their eyes on the future but the Cowboys might want to kick start that process now.

** I wonder if there is another team in the league with two offensive players as their leading special teams’ tacklers like the Cowboys. Tight ends James Hanna and John Phillips lead the unit with four tackles apiece. Running back Phillip Tanner is tied for fourth with three. How teams record tackles is up to the coaches, but I wonder if the Cowboys can be happy that so many offensive players are at the top of that list considering, you know, they generally aren’t good tacklers because, you know, they play, umm, offense.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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