Dallas Cowboys running backs coach Skip Peete has been relieved of his duties by coach Jason Garrett and will not return for the 2013 season.
Peete, who had been with the Cowboys since 2007, was informed in a meeting with Garrett Monday.
According to a source, Peete was surprised by the move, given the injuries to running backs DeMarco Murray the past two seasons that limited his effectiveness, and the struggles on the offensive line to open holes for the running game.
The Cowboys set a team record for fewest rushing yards in a 16-game season in 2012 with just 1,265.
Murray, who missed six games with a sprained foot, rushed for 663 yards, the lowest for a Cowboys leading rusher in 23 years. Felix Jones was ineffective in Murray’s place but his presence and production should land more at the foot of owner Jerry Jones than Peete.
A disappointed Garrett hinted at changes with the running game in his press conference after the season-ending loss to the Redskins.
“We have to do a better job running the football,’’ Garrett said. “DeMarco Murray was out for a large portion of this season, but having said that, you have to put the next guy in there and you have to be effective running it.
“It just helps your football team. It helps your offensive line, it helps your quarterback, it helps your defense. That’s something that we’ve tried to do and we weren’t as effective as we needed to be.
“We have to make a commitment to being better next year.’’
Peete may be the first change but he may not be the only staff move in 2013.
Special teams coach Joe DeCammilis interviewed for Bears head coaching job on Saturday. And even if he doesn’t get the Bears job, he could be in line for a lateral move to another team. The Cowboys blocked a potential move by DeCammilis to the Raiders last season.
The Cowboys have yet to rule on the future of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
Anthony Armstrong’s stint with the Cowboys this past season lasted 26 days. But the receiver from Carrollton will get another chance to make the team. He played in one game for the Dallas Cowboys, failing to record any statistics in Dallas’ 27-24 overtime victory over Pittsburgh on Dec. 16.
Armstrong was signed to Dallas’ reserve/future list along with a group of eight other players, including tight end Colin Cochart, guard Ray Dominguez, receiver Jared Green, long snapper Charley Hughlett, receiver Carlton Mitchell, linebacker Cameron Sheffield, tackle Aderious Simmons and cornerback Brandon Underwood.
Cochart was on the Cowboys’ active roster for 10 days in September. Hughlett had been a member of the team through training camp until being cut Aug. 27.
The Cowboys had previously signed the following players to the reserve/future list: Cornerback Vince Agnew, receiver Tim Benford, receiver Danny Coale, defensive end Ikponmwosa Igbinosun, cornerback Micah Pellerin, defensive tackle Brian Price, linebacker Brashton Satele, tight end Andre Smith, quarterback Nick Stephens and linebacker Monte Taylor.