A short week is not going to force the Dallas Cowboys to put running back Darren McFadden on a pitch count.
McFadden is expected to receive a similar workload as in previous weeks, coach Jason Garrett said. McFadden reported no issues following a 29-carry game last Sunday in Miami, and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down in practice this week.
“We’ll certainly watch him like we would with any player, make sure they’re functioning well during the game,” Garrett said. “But he’s a tough guy. He’s physically tough, he’s mentally tough. I think he’s excited about the opportunity.”
McFadden is coming off a game in which he rushed for 129 yards on 29 carries, including closing the game out with nine carries for 40 yards in the final 6 minutes. It was an impressive performance, considering McFadden missed a day of practice earlier that week with a strained groin.
For the season, he has 159 carries for 623 yards and two touchdowns.
McFadden, though, insists he is healthy and ready to continue being the Cowboys’ lead back.
“Getting ready for this short week you just have to embrace it,” McFadden said. “And make sure you take care of your body cause you don’t have the same amount of time to recover as you would on a normal week.”
Thursday will mark the third time for McFadden to play on Thanksgiving. He played in two games with the Oakland Raiders – he rushed five times for 13 yards in a 2013 contest against Dallas, and rushed six times for 23 yards in a 2009 game against Dallas.
The Raiders lost both of those games. He knows it won’t be easy going against Carolina.
“Anytime you turn on the film, you just look at the number of guys they have on the film after the play … Those guys are flying around, getting to the ball and making plays,” McFadden said. “They have some pretty good linebackers that we’re going against. For us, we’re just going to go out there and work hard and keep playing our game.”