The QB drought the Cowboys went through between 99-06 was the worst in our proud history. Should make us be a bit gratefully for Romo if you ask me. But what often gets swept under the rug is the RB drought that could arguably be the worst as well. Since Emmitt's last year here it's been a revolving door. One that is back up heavy.
During Emmitt's final years in Dallas there was a fan out cry for the back up which happened to be good ole Troy Hambrick. Combine the fans' with Troy's over confidence of replacing Emmitt seemingly so easy, Troy was given the opportunity, we all know how that went. There was no success and an eventual release soon after.
In an attempt to rescue his career and in my opinion an attempt by Jerry to add juice to the back field Dallas and Eddie George became a match. A match that was hard to watch as George was in the twilight of his career. The failed attempt here caused the drafting of one Julius Jones. Passing up on Steven Jackson.
In Jones' rookie year once given the opportunity he lit up the world and was on a record pace. There was hope in Dallas at RB. Talks of Emmitt's replacement were starting to finally end. That's where Jones hit a wall. Not long after Julius Jones was just another back which sparked the drafting of Marion Barber to pair with Jones.
The duo seemed to work very well in 2007. One of the best rushing years since Emmitt's departure. Jones was solid, not spectacular, and Barber was a beast earning pro bowl honors with 13 TDs as a back up and one of the most memorable plays in Cowboys history against the Patriots. With Barber's performance he was promoted to a starter and paid as such, OUCH, big mistake. Barber's hard nosed running caught up to him as most anticipated it would. His production never came close to matching his pay and never rushed for 1,000 yards. In between all that Felix Jones was drafted.
Keeping up with the Joneses. Felix was drafted to be the change of pace back behind Marion Barber. But in doing so Jerry passed up on Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall, & Jamaal Charles. Another OUCH! Felix much like Julius was lighting the world on fire his rookie season. But injuries have become the most consistent thing about Felix. While I believe he is a good player he is often injured too much and seems like he can't be the every down back.
These backs have some in common. Troy was never that talented of a back. Julius Jones while solid at Notre Dame not great many believed was drafted higher than he should have. Felix and Marion Barber both were complimentary backs during their college careers, never being the every down guy. But in some form, a trend has been broken. Enter DeMarco Murray.
DeMarco is a very talented back, was considered to be drafted lower than expected due to an injury, had a record setting college career at Oklahoma (home of Adrian Peterson), and was considered the work horse back for the Sooners.
Holding records of rushing TDs, total TDs, total yards, and return TDs Murray was on his way to becoming a higher draft pick. A late season injury would derail that. But the injury prone tag would follow him to the NFL which was unjustifiable because he only missed 5 games in his collegiate career. Although it didn't help when he injured his hammy before camp.
But DeMarco separates himself from the others in my opinion. He has the mind frame and resume of a work horse, the combination of size and speed 6'0 227 lbs 4.41 40, and the chip on his shoulder to prove he is better than many think.
Even behind a below average run blocking line Murray has showed small flashes of his ability. Of the tiny sample we have been given he showed an array of his skills on one run against New England.
Murray started right and as usual there wasn't too much space to operate. Instead of running into his blockers he used his vision to find the tiniest crease and exploded forward, quickly cutting left then right and powering forward for an extra yard. While it was only an 8 yard run it may have been one of the best runs of the season by our backs.
Vision, explosion, cutting, and power. 4 traits shown in one run. Not to mention his 9 yard reception out the back field where he is also a threat.
One could argue no back the Cowboys have drafted since Emmitt has the combination of his resume, and skill set coming out of college. While I don't think he can completely over come the line issues this year, I think he can make more plays and long gains than an injured Felix Jones which is no knock on Felix. With more and more reps Murray just has the set of tools to not only fill in for Felix but to take over and put Felix in to his natural role.
"I’m ready," Murray said of Wednesday’s practice at Valley Ranch. "I’ve been working hard since I got here. I know the playbook and I’m mentally and physically ready." (ESPN DALLAS)
This back up plan may be THE plan moving forward.