Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys are “comfortable” with Randle, Dunbar and McFadden as their RBs

Joseph Randle (21), Darren McFadden (20) and Ryan Williams (34) are competing for DeMarco Murray’s touches and yards from last season after Murray departed for Philadelphia.
Joseph Randle (21), Darren McFadden (20) and Ryan Williams (34) are competing for DeMarco Murray’s touches and yards from last season after Murray departed for Philadelphia. Star-Telegram

The Cowboys didn’t draft a running back after losing DeMarco Murray in free agency. They did sign Darren McFadden and recently former Baylor star Lache Seastrunk, giving them five tailbacks on their roster.

While some bigger-name veterans are on the free-agent market, including some the Cowboys worked out last month, Dallas wants to give Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar the first crack at replacing Murray’s carries and yards.

“We’re very comfortable,” owner Jerry Jones said. “We want to continue to balance the right amount of work for McFadden, Randall, Dunbar. We want to get them the right amount of work, but we don’t want to be foolish as to what we do as we get on into the physical part of training camp. Those are guys we’re planning to go against New York with [in the season opener], and we have to continually be looking for some potential of basic making the roster.”

Ryan Williams, who spent last season on the practice squad, missed much of the offseason with swelling in his knee. He has an injury history and doesn’t play special teams, which makes him a longer shot to make the roster.

Despite the departure of Murray, Jones indicated the Cowboys are unlikely to carry four tailbacks on their 53-player roster as they did a few years ago. Jones also all but ruled out adding a veteran back before camp begins.

“To be candid with you, as you know, it’s a challenge to get that fourth back up on the roster,” Jones said. “He’s got to be a special teams wiz or more. If we’re going to keep a fullback, or maybe as many as four tight ends, we’ve got to look at our numbers there real good.

“…It’s a hard spot for veteran backs, when we’ve got three that we want to treat like veterans as we get ready for the season. So finding that veteran back usually isn’t the answer at this particular time. Now, if we were down at the end of training camp, and we were getting ready to go play, then a veteran is a little different circumstance. From that standpoint, it’s a managing situation as to where we are now as opposed to where we’re going to be when we leave training camp.”

Murray had 497 touches for the Cowboys last season, including 449 in the regular season. With Murray’s departure in free agency, the Cowboys are expected to spread the touches to McFadden, Randle and Dunbar.

“I think we’ve got three guys who have three unique skill sets,” running backs coach Gary Brown said. “We have to make sure that we use those guys and make sure we’re doing the best we can do for the Cowboys and the running game going forward.”

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @NFLCharean

 

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