Cowboys notes: Rookie Randle draws praise for protecting QB, ball

Posted Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Joseph Randle carried 19 times for the Cowboys starting in place of DeMarco Murray, and believes he can do more.

“I’m able to carry the full load for the full season if they ask me to do that,” Randle said. “Right now, I’m just doing what they ask me to do.”

Randle finished with 65 yards, but that wasn’t what was important for him.

“Protecting the quarterback is always first,” he said. “And then holding on to the ball. I don’t even know how many yards I had.”

Coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys tried to give Randle high-percentage throws when they had to throw it to him. He caught three passes for 28 yards.

“He stepped in there and ran the football, ran hard and protected the ball,” Garrett said. “When he had chances to block, he did that, so I thought it was a good day for him.”

Without Murray, the Cowboys also used Phillip Tanner in short yardage. He got two chances, gaining no yards on a third-and-1 and scoring on a 1-yard run in the third quarter. Receiver Dwayne Harris also got a carry, picking up 6 yards on an end-around to start the second half.

Tanner had a major mistake in the passing game, going the wrong way on a pass pattern and inadvertently taking his man into a throw meant for Cole Beasley, resulting in an interception.

But Romo said both backs did a good job. Of Randle, Romo added: “He’s going to help us. I thought he was pretty good in his blocking assignments. We’ll see when we watch the tape, but it was good to see.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he thinks there’s a “good chance” Murray is back next week from his sprained knee.

“I think we’re in great shape at running back,” Jones said.

He is also optimistic about running back Lance Dunbar’s return from a hamstring injury.

Staying aggressive

Tony Romo said he was impressed by offensive coordinator Bill Callahan staying aggressive after the interception that set up the Eagles’ first points.

“After interceptions, there’s sometimes an, ‘OK, let’s calm down, let’s just run it three times,’” Romo said. “Give Bill credit. He called an aggressive game. He came right after that, and to me, that was fantastic, because I understand sometimes it’s out of your control.… I think they trusted me, and they trusted our team, to go out there and execute it and put the game away when we had to.”

Romo finished with his lowest passer rating of the season, 69.2.

Austin not quite ready

Jason Garrett said the Cowboys got Miles Austin ready to play, but he wasn’t quite there.

“He warmed up well in this ballgame, and we felt he could play some, but again, we wanted to use the other guys,” Garrett said. “We used different personnel groups to take some of the snaps off him.”

Austin, returning from a hamstring injury, had no receptions.

Heath pitches in

The Cowboys rotated in undrafted rookie safety Jeff Heath to keep the players rested against the Eagles’ fast pace.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

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