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Thursday, October 27, 2011
Five-star: It's all about commitment

By Tim MacMahon

Will DeMarco Murray gain 100 yards against Philadelphia' 23rd-ranked run defense?

If Jason Garrett commits to the run, DeMarco Murray will crack triple digits again.

Give Murray 20 carries Sunday night and he’ll break at least one for a big gain. The Eagles have allowed six runs of at least 20 yards this season. Murray, who has sub-4.4 speed, busted runs for 91 and 43 yards during his record-setting performance against the Rams.

The key is that the Cowboys need to run the ball for positive yardage on a consistent basis, keeping the offense in favorable down-and-distance situations and making Garrett comfortable sticking to a conservative game plan. That’s a bigger challenge than you might believe given that the Eagles rank in the bottom-third of run defenses and allow 4.8 yards per carry.

Philadelphia’s problems against the run are primarily due to a poor linebacker corps and shaky safeties. Murray can do major damage if the Cowboys can get him to the second level.

However, the Eagles have a disruptive defensive line. According to Stats Inc., Philadelphia’s defense has dropped running backs for losses on 16.2 percent of carries, which is the fourth-best percentage in the NFL.

If the Cowboys don’t get whipped up front, Murray will find plenty of room to run against the Eagles. And he’ll get plenty of opportunities.