With DeMarco Murray leaving in free agency and the Adrian Peterson rumors never coming close to fruition, the Dallas Cowboys knew they were likely going to use a committee for their rushing attack.
And nothing has changed during training camp to alter that approach.
Neither Joseph Randle nor Darren McFadden separated themselves enough to warrant serious consideration as a workhorse-type back, and the plan remains for those two to handle rushing duties, along with change-of-pace back Lance Dunbar.
Owner Jerry Jones is more than OK with that going forward, and said on his weekly radio show that he simply hopes the committee approach forms enough of a threat that opposing defense’s have to game plan around it.
“We need to really have a running game that the other team respects,” Jones said on KRLD-FM. “Even if [the defense has] done a good job of taking it away from us a little bit, even if we’re having to throw more, the word is ‘respect.’
“If we can get defense’s to compromise what they do their best to have to work on something that we can do because we have a running game, then we’ve accomplished something going into the game.”
Randle has rushed for 45 yards on 13 carries over the past two preseason games, but continues to draw praise from the coaching staff for his growth. They feel he’s becoming a better all-around player, particularly in the running game.
McFadden, meanwhile, had an impressive showing Saturday by rushing for 37 yards on four carries. He showed he still has the burst that made him a top pick in the 2008 draft.
But the 28-year-old McFadden has had an injury-plagued career, missing 29 games with 15 different injuries.
So, as Jones has said all along, expect the Cowboys to go into the season with the idea of splitting carries between the backs. The bigger question is whether it’ll be respected, as Jones hopes.