DeMarco Murray ran for 847 yards before anyone touched him last year.
That was his cumulative yardage gained BEFORE any contact was made. 45% of his productivity is directly attributable to the offensive line clearing holes to run through and gain yards before an opponent laid hands on him. By then, he's running downhill and is a tough guy to bring down.
But, any one of our current stable of backs would also have gained that 847 yards. The question is; What would they do with the ball after that and why did the Cowboys keep running Murray?
My theory is, Murray is a possession back, a grinder, a guy who will pound and pound and eventually wear down a defense. I don't see him as a homerun hitter, a guy who can take it 60 yards to the house. Last year, a grinder is exactly what we needed. We all agree that our D needed to be protected. To keep them off the field we needed to have sustained drives that resulted in points and Murray was a key component of that strategy.
We certainly weren't trying to keep him from hitting homeruns but handing the ball back to our opponent quickly and getting in an offensive shoot out wasn't in our best interest. Our D would get worn down and exposed even more and worse, putting Romo and his back in must pass situations would be flirting with disaster.
Through this draft we've improved our D and hopefully made them a force that pressures the opposing offense and makes stops. We should no longer have to design the offensive plan with a consideration towards protecting our defense. That new strength of the defense will change the way we think about our offense mix, clock management, scoring, the tempo and generally the overall personality of that unit. I think McFadden, Williams, Randle and who ever else they may pick up in free agency cuts are potential 'take it to the house' guys. Give DMC a 2 or 3 yard free run into opposing territory like Murray had, DMC makes one cut, turns it on and go.
Now if an opponent wants to get into a shoot out, we have a D that can get after their QB. Opponents scoring on a drive will no longer be considered a virtual certainty. My theory is that now we can score quickly (via air or ground), let the new D take the field and force the opponent to make long time consuming drives to protect their D.
In brief, Murray was perfect for what we needed to do last year and I believe the Cowboys actually helped him get his deserved payday. The RBs available in the draft would not have brought any more to the party than what we already had in house AND would have cost a draft pick. All of the offensive guys taken in this draft were blockers. The rest of the picks and major off season acquisitions were to make the D able to stand and fight on it's own two feet. The RBs on the team now will be ready to blast through those holes our O-line creates and do some shakin' and bakin' on the opponents side of the scrimmage line.
My predictions -
1) The Cowboys will be in the top 3 teams in scoring
2) The Cowboys will be in the top 3 teams in total yards gained
3) The Cowboys will be in the top 3 teams in rushing yards
2) The Cowboys primary back will gain more yards than DeMarco Murray