WRITERS ROUNDTABLE: Will the Cowboys continue to average 177 yards rushing per game since DeMarco Murray became the starter?

Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray

Question: Will the Dallas Cowboys hit their average of 177.0 yards rushing per game since DeMarco Murray became the starter?

Calvin Watkins: Cowboys run game will succeed

The last four weeks have been wonderful for Murray. He’s rushed for 601 yards, the most over a four-game span in franchise history. His strong running style is helped by fullback Tony Fiammetta and an offensive line starting to develop into something good.

When the Cowboys take on the Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoon, expect the run game to continue to have success. Murray is reason No. 1, but the return of running back Felix Jones will add to it. Jones averaged four yards a carry before a left high ankle sprain forced him out the next four games.

Jones is a solid runner; he’s just not as good as Murray is right now.

And that’s OK, because good running teams have multiple running backs helping in the cause. Jones helps Murray and the passing game, which is also performing well thanks to Laurent Robinson, opens the door for the run.

Sure the Redskins will have eight in the box, much like Buffalo did last Sunday. But the Redskins rank 18th against the run, allowing 120.4 yards per game. Washington has some physical players up front, but the Cowboys are doing a great job of attacking defenses.

Murray and Jones will have a solid game Sunday and keep the averages up.

Jean-Jacques Taylor: Raggedy Redskins’ offense will fuel RBs

Oh yeah.

But it has more to do with the Redskins’ raggedy offense than the Cowboys’ running game.

Yes, the Cowboys’ have done a terrific job of running the ball since Murray became the epicenter of the rushing attack. He’s had more than 130 yards in three of the past four games.

But the Redskins’ offense is soooooo bad that it hasn’t given it’s defense much of a chance during their five-game losing streak.

At some point in the second half, if not earlier, the Cowboys will stretch their lead to 14 points. Then it will become the Murray show.

Jason Garrett will call run after run after run, allowing the Cowboys to shorten the game and giving Murray a chance to pound Washington’s run defense that’s allowed 4.3 yards per carry.

In their past four games, the Redskins have allowed 192, 175, 138, 138 and 103 yards rushing.

There’s no reason to think the Cowboys — even on the road — won’t gouge their run defense and take advantage of the Redskins’ abject offense.

Bryan Broaddus: Expect Redskins to put eight in box

There is no doubt that Murray has made a huge difference in not only the way the Cowboys run the ball, but also how he’s helped Tony Romo, the offensive line, Jason Garrett as a play caller and even the defense.

From what I’ve studied this week, the Redskins can play good run defense — at times — with their front seven. Linebackers Rocky McIntosh and London Fletcher are always around the ball and play off blocks well. Nose tackle Barry Cofield and end Adam Carriker can be stout at the point of attack. Then you have the speed from the edge with Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo, who can run down plays from the backside.

The last five games, the Redskins have allowed 149.2 yards a game rushing — but two of those games were against Carolina and Philadelphia, who have mobile quarterbacks who help pad those yardage totals.

Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett knows that the Cowboys’ success begins with Murray and what the offense is able to generate on the ground. The Cowboys have already had to deal with eight-man boxes this season and have had some success.

This really is the Redskins’ last stand on a season that started out with so much promise. The defense hasn’t been the problem, and I don’t think it will be again this week. Murray will get his 100, but I can also see Jones chipping in with 40 or 50 as well — but that’s really all the Cowboys will be able to manage.

So, no, the Cowboys won’t reach their average. However, the Cowboys will reach the most important total — a six in the win column.

Todd Archer: Redskins’ rivalry holds DeMarco Murray

Washington is allowing 120.4 yards a game on the ground, so the easy answer is yes — but never discount what this rivalry means.

Points and yards will be tough to come by, even with as hot as Murray has been. And he has been blazing. The Cowboys ran for 125 yards as a team against Washington when these teams met at Cowboys Stadium in September, but 40 of them came on one Felix Jones run. Murray had only two carries for 6 yards.

The Redskins have held only three running backs below 50 yards in a game – Miami’s Reggie Bush, St. Louis’ Stephen Jackson and Ahmad Bradshaw of the New York Giants. In addition to Jones’ 115 yards, the Redskins have had three other backs go over 100 yards and all three of those games were at FedEx Field.

Murray has averaged 151 yards on the ground in his last four games. Jason Garrett has shown a commitment to the run because it has been successful.

So why am I saying no?

In their last five trips to Washington the Cowboys have not topped 117 yards on the ground.

As bad as things are going for the Redskins now, I just can’t see Murray and the Cowboys running wild.

Tim MacMahon: Keep expectations realistic for run game

I’m as caught up in Murray-mania as the next guy, but let’s try to keep expectations realistic.

That average of 177.0 rushing yards per game with Murray as the lead horse is skewed by a once-in-franchise-history performance against the raggedy St. Louis Rams, whose run defense ranks last in the NFL. The Cowboys ran for 163 yards in each of the last two games – very impressive totals but still more than a first down short of that four-game average.

The Redskins’ run defense is mediocre, ranking 18th in the NFL. But Washington has only allowed two teams to rush for more than 138 yards this season.

Cam Newton had 59 of Carolina’s 175 rushing yards against the Redskins. Michael Vick had 54 of Philadelphia’s 192 rushing yards against the Redskins. Considering that Tony Romo has rushed for a grand total of 47 yards all season, don’t expect that kind of bonus ground production from the Cowboys’ quarterback.

Pencil in the Murray-Felix Jones tandem for about 150 rushing yards, which will be more than enough to beat the Redskins.

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Photo courtesy: Khampha Bouaphanh

2 responses

  1. robert a knight | Reply

    cant wait to see what he can do without fiametta


    1. With three blocking tight ends, we should be able to open up some lanes.


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