IRVING The Dallas Cowboys’ offensive identity last season centered around running back DeMarco Murray, rushing for a league-best 1,845 yards.
Murray joined the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency.
So it’s back to square one for Cowboys and play-caller Scott Linehan to find an individual or combination to replace that production in the upcoming campaign.
Ground zero is where Linehan began before last season and Murray’s career year and it’s where he planned to begin this off-season.
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“Bottom line is there’s certain things we feel very adamant about is going to be important and it’s no different really, same message that we had when we kind of started with ground zero last year,” Linehan said. “I think if we do that and we go back to the basics and do those things well again, it will be benefit us as we move forward.”
The important things are to continue to have success running the ball on first down, have a high third-down efficiency like last season with Murray. While the cast might be different, the strategy will be the same.
“A lot of it was we were run heavy,” he said. “That was our mentality, but that mentality and being able to do it even when people kind of knew you were going to do it paid dividends and we’ve got to continue that.”
As the off-season goes on and the coaching staff gets a better idea what strengths Dallas’ new running back corps – Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams- possess, Linehan said he will scheme the run game to fit those rushers.
But Linehan doesn’t rule out another No. 1 breaking away from the pack.
“I still feel like we’re going to find somebody that’s going to have, not the majority of our carries, but a good bulk of our carries,” he said. “I think before it’s all said and done, that person will rise to the top.”