Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys seek to replace DeMarco Murray’s pass blocking as well as his carries and yards

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) is sacked by Washington Redskins inside linebacker Keenan Robinson (52) during a game last season when DeMarco Murray (29) picked up the wrong blitzer.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) is sacked by Washington Redskins inside linebacker Keenan Robinson (52) during a game last season when DeMarco Murray (29) picked up the wrong blitzer. AP

The Cowboys not only are seeking to replace DeMarco Murray’s 392 carries from last season, but they also must get their running backs – and Tony Romo -- comfortable with replacing him in pass protection.

“It’s a great challenge,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that, and the consequences of not doing that well on Sunday are significant. So you really have to have someone you can trust, who understands defenses, understands calls, physically knows how to block guys because those are significant plays and defenses do such a great job in this league in challenging you in so many different ways schematically that if you’re not quick mentally to be able to handle those different things and you’re hesitant again the consequences of that are significant for your football team.”

 Murray allowed only 1.5 sacks last season, according to the team’s statistics. The one he gave up was significant, knocking Romo out of the game when Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson kneed Romo in the quarterback’s surgically repaired back. Romo fractured two transverse process and missed the next week’s game against Arizona.

Murray, though, did a solid job in his career in Dallas with protecting Romo.

“DeMarco was great at it,” running backs coach Gary Brown said. “We’re working to get to that level. We’re not there yet. These guys we have are going to work hard to get to that point where Tony feels very comfortable back there.”

Joseph Randle had a nice blitz-pickup on Sean Lee during Blue-and-White Scrimmage on Sunday. Randle, who is 210 pounds, weighs less than Murray (217) and has less experience at the job.

Darren Fadden weighs more (220) and has more experience at blitz pickup, but he remains on the physically unable to perform list until at least Saturday.

“It comes down to two things: You’ve got to know your assignments, and you’ve got to be tough,” Brown said. “We can talk about technique and this and that. At the end of the day, you’ve got to go up there and hit him in the mouth and block him. Period. I think a lot of people make it a little more difficult than it has to be. Obviously, there’s a technique to it that we’d like to use, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to get a guy up blocking and keep 9 up.”

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @NFLCharean

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