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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Emmitt would be 'so mad' in Murray's shoes

By Tim MacMahon

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Emmitt Smith never had to worry about getting the ball when the Dallas Cowboys were protecting a late lead in his day.

That was a big part of the '90s dynasty teams' personality. They'd build a lead with a balanced offense and slam the door shut smashmouth style, hammering away with a back who would eventually break the NFL's all-time rushing record running behind a dominant offensive line.

But Smith can imagine how DeMarco Murray felt Sunday afternoon, when he was an afterthought while the Cowboys' 23-point lead crumbled despite averaging 7.4 yards on his 18 carries.

“Oh, I'd be hot,” Smith said Monday afternoon during an appearance at the Best Buy Ultimate Gamers Showdown at AT&T Stadium. “Oh, I'd be so mad. I really would be extremely mad.

“And I'm mad just thinking about how we lost the game. Notice I said we lost the game. It's not like Green Bay took it from us. We actually gave them a chance to come back and play.”

Murray rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in the loss to the Green Bay Packers, but only seven of those carries came in the second half.

The Cowboys' abandonment of the run left Murray biting his lip and Packers defenders publicly expressing their appreciation for Dallas' poor play calling. But that's the personality of the current Cowboys.

It was one thing to be so pass-happy last season, when the Cowboys were a poor running team. That isn't the case now. The Cowboys consistently give up on a good running game.

Dallas is tied for fourth in the league in yards per carry (4.6) but ranks second to last in rushing attempts this season. Since the start of November, the Cowboys have the highest yards-per-carry average (5.9) and fewest rushing attempts (20.2 per game). Murray is averaging 6.3 yards per carry in that span but hasn't had more than 18 carries in any of those six games.

“At the end of the day, you've got to be able to run the football,” Smith said. “You have to if you want to go anywhere. Yeah, throwing the ball is great. It looks good, it's fun, you can market your players, your quarterback.

“But I always go back to the fundamental question: What does it take to win? Who are the winningest organizations in the history of the game and what style of football did they play?”

Smith stressed the importance of culture to successful franchises. That's a term that Jason Garrett emphasizes consistently, but Smith can't see an identifiable culture established by his former teammate, who is in his third full season as the Cowboys' head coach.

“I don't know. I'm looking for it,” Smith said. “I know it's different than what we used to have. That much, I do know.”