My colleague Dawn wrote a very well articulated column on how there is no real need to have a bell-cow running back in the Cowboys' arsenal for 2015. Though I respect her opinion, I have to disagree. The RBBC approach is not a bad idea by any means, but you have to have the right collection to make that work. The Cowboys have a lot of guys with similar traits and talents with no true tandem.
Though many will try and argue the history of success in the stable of backs theory, the Cowboys simply don't have the three-headed monster that is referenced. Lance Dunbar is at-best a receiving back with great speed, but he's not a guy that you pound the rock with and has had fumbling issues. Ryan Williams and Darren McFadden have a litany of injury histories that cannot be overlooked, though the pedigree is there. Joseph Randle has some wiggle and talent that showed last season, but he was given the reins before and dropped the ball. It's not impossible, but it isn't wise to place eggs in any one basket just yet.
The Cowboys have a ton of time to figure this one out but there is a reason to some of my uneasiness in the position. I don't see a bell-cow on this roster, but I can be convinced otherwise with some time in Oxnard and preseason work. This is not doom and gloom as many know I have written about Joseph Randle and his vision. Where DeMarco Murray always looked for contact, I like that Randle was more focused on the end result. If he can truly master his skill-set through training camp, I can totally get behind the idea of him being the guy. That's just it, the Cowboys need a guy to step up an be the guy. If someone is to win the position, there has to be a battle.
This Cowboys' offense was predicated on their running game last season. The offensive line is the envy of the league, but DeMarco Murray is also a very good talent. This team needs a leader in the clubhouse because that's how they are built. It would be premature to just assume that if one of these guys goes down, that any one of the others can easily pick up the slack.
I agree that we've seen a shift in the value of the position and I hear the term "dime-a-dozen" a lot. Here's the truth though; that's true until it's not. If you have a premier back, you don't talk about running in a committee. Guys like Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, and even Murray would be offended by that statement. Not all running backs are to be lumped together, because when you have an aging quarterback that had his best season under a stellar running-game, it's more important than that terminology. If Dallas wants to build off 2014, they must continue to establish their running dominance.
I have a term that comes to mind; if it ain't broke, why fix it? Trust me, I understand that DeMarco Murray priced himself off the team. I can deal with that, I'm simply stating that the Cowboys need to find a lead tail-back. As I've said many times, replacing 1,845 yards is not the goal. That's ludicrous to even fathom, but a solid contributor that can set the tone and force a defense to plan for him is what is needed here. That's what a bell-cow is and that's what Dallas should stop at nothing to find. Maybe that will be Joseph Randle or Darren McFadden, it's possible, then again maybe the Cowboys will trade for someone in camp like Bryan Broaddus believes.
We just need to pump the brakes on this sudden huge trust in the unknown. This stable has plenty of questions to answer and assuming because the Patriots' sign LeGarrette Blount late and win the Super Bowl means anything is misguided information. I look forward to being proven wrong and many know I'm in the Randle camp. However, these Cowboys are adamant that they will run the football and do it well. Of course their offensive line will certainly hold up their end of the bargain; but now they need a leader to emerge and steer the way.