Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Friday, November 18, 2011
Cowboys' Tony Fiammetta out Sunday

By Dan Graziano

The Dallas Cowboys have announced that fullback Tony Fiammetta will miss Sunday's game with an illness, though they haven't said what the illness is that has affected him all week.

Obviously, Fiammetta's health is the most important thing, but in the smaller context of Sunday's game against the Redskins, his absence is likely to be felt. As Tim MacMahon points out in that link up there, the Cowboys are averaging 61.2 more rushing yards per game this season when Fiammetta plays than when he doesn't, and his insertion into the lineup coincided with that of tailback DeMarco Murray, who has rushed for 601 yards over the past four games. Fiammetta has been a quiet but important part of what the Cowboys have been able to do on offense over the past month, and Murray certainly sounds as though he'll miss him:
"He's kinda like the cleanup guy," Murray said. "He makes his blocks. If there's any trash he’ll clean it up and get on to his block. He's a smart guy, he knows the game really well."

Murray has used a fullback in high school and in his last year at Oklahoma, so he likes having one lead for him because it gives him time to find holes.

"Huge, he’s been a very, very important factor in the running game," Murray said. "He's a great player, a great person and he’s definitely a vital part of our success."

Something to watch Sunday in a game the Cowboys certainly should win anyway against the depleted Redskins, but which could be tougher than expected if they're unable to run the ball the way they have been lately.