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Sunday, August 17, 2014
Murray: I can carry it as much as needed

By Tim MacMahon

ARLINGTON, Texas -- From the owner to the franchise quarterback, everyone in a position of authority has promised that the Dallas Cowboys would commit to the run this season.

Murray
Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray vowed to be ready but basically said he'll believe it when he sees it.

Perhaps two series in a preseason games isn't concrete proof, but Murray certainly got plenty of work during his brief appearance in Saturday night's loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He carried eight times for 34 yards, plus caught a screen pass for a 21-yard gain, before taking a seat on the bench midway through the fourth quarter.

Nine touches in two series? Do the math and that'd multiply into a massive workload for Murray, one of the NFL's most underutilized backs last season.

"I feel like I can do whatever they ask me to do," said Murray, who rushed for 1,121 yards and nine touchdowns on 217 carries in 2013. "Like I said before, I'll be ready to carry it as many times as they give it to me."

It makes sense for so many reasons for the Cowboys to commit to the run. They want to take pressure off of quarterback Tony Romo, who is coming off December back surgery. They want to limit the amount of time a no-name defense spends on the field.

And, as much as anything else, the Cowboys want to take advantage of one of their best assets by giving Murray plenty of chances to burst through big holes created by one of the NFL's best offensive line, which features recent first-round picks Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin.

"[The potential of the running game is] definitely high, with those guys, the way they work and the kind of things we've done this offseason and training camp," Murray said. "I definitely feel like we've got a good feel for each other and we just go to continue to get better every week."

Murray's durability is the only real question about the effectiveness of the Cowboys' running game. The fact that the Cowboys are 11-0 when he has at least 20 carries in his career illustrates that he can finish games strong in a workhorse role.

However, Murray has missed 11 games in his career due to a variety of injuries. He's healthy and in excellent physical condition now, though, and should be primed for the most productive season by a Cowboys running back since Emmitt Smith's heyday.

"Yeah, he's that kind of back," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "You see him. He runs with power, but then he really puts some pressure outside on defenses even though he's got some power to really make some inside yards. He's a good back for us."

Murray might be primed for a great season, if he gets enough opportunities.