Without Murray, Dallas RBs to be tested

October, 14, 2013
10/14/13
7:40
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – DeMarco Murray did not talk with reporters on Monday to address the condition of the sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, but a source has indicated that it is unlikely the running back will play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Without Murray, the Cowboys will have to figure out a way to run the ball effectively, which is something they did not do during the 2012 season.

In the six games without Murray because of a sprained foot, the Cowboys ran for 368 yards on 123 carries, good for three yards a carry (if we round up from 2.99). Felix Jones' high mark during that run was 71 yards on 16 carries against the Eagles, but twice he failed to rush for 20 yards in a game.

Rookie Joseph Randle would get the first crack at the full-time job for however long Murray misses. Lance Dunbar has a hamstring injury and has yet to run since getting hurt in the Denver game. Phillip Tanner is the only other back on the 53-man roster. The Cowboys are contemplating adding a running back to the practice squad if Dunbar is unable to play against the Eagles.

Randle had just 17 yards on 11 carries against the Redskins, but Jason Garrett will not condemn the numbers because of how Washington was selling out to stop the run late in the game.

“You’ve got to be careful about evaluating those rushing attempts and the yards we had and the average we had in the ball game,” Garrett said. “There were circumstances involved in that. Having said all that, we’ve got to be able to run the football better. We have to be able to run the football well when DeMarco Murray is not our runner. That’s last night, but that’s also in recent history. We just have to put the next guy in there. We gave Joseph Randle some chances in the ballgame. He did some positive things. He was strong running the football. But he took care of the ball well. He was in some of those situations at the end of the game where it’s difficult. They have eight and nine and 10 man fronts up there, trying to get the ball back. I thought he handled himself well there. It didn’t seem too big for him. But as much as anything else, running the football has a lot to do with your whole offense -- your ability to knock them off the ball up front, your tight ends blocking, your receivers blocking as well as the runner.”

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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