Dallas Cowboys

It took six games, but Cowboys finally find DeMarco Murray’s replacement

Cowboys running back Darren McFadden (20) earned the starting job with 29 carries for 152 yards against the Giants.
Cowboys running back Darren McFadden (20) earned the starting job with 29 carries for 152 yards against the Giants. Star-Telegram

The Cowboys’ running back-by-committee now has a chairman: Darren McFadden earned that title Sunday against the Giants.

The eight-year veteran rushed for 152 yards, the first 100-yard game for a Cowboys’ back this season, and added another 10 receiving yards. The only question he left in his wake was: What took the Cowboys so long?

McFadden had only 37 carries for 129 yards in the first five games.

“That’s something I don’t ask any questions about,” McFadden said. “I just go out there and do what I’m supposed to do.”

McFadden, the fourth overall pick in 2008, signed as a free agent the day after DeMarco Murray left for Philadelphia. It took the Cowboys seven months – and an injury to Joseph Randle – for them to give Murray’s job to McFadden.

“When you’re playing three guys, …you’re trying to figure out they’ve all got different styles and where you go,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “We were in a position where Joe couldn’t go anymore, so we lengthened the load of D-Mac in that situation, which is kind of how we did it a year ago. So when a guy gets to carry the ball in the 20s, and he was almost 30 carries, that was pretty typical of our running game last year. I think a guy tends to heat up and get better as the game goes on. …Sometimes you just kind of get that moment of truth, well, you’re getting the ball a lot more than you were planning on getting it. He just took advantage of it and said, ‘Hey, this is what I’ve been hoping to get an opportunity to do from the day I got here.’ It was great.”

McFadden went 29 games between 100-yard games, but even after gaining only 534 yards last season, he knew he still had it in him.

“No doubt in my mind at all,” McFadden said. “I’ve just been wanting to go out there and show it to everybody on the field, because I know what I can do, and I know what I’m capable of doing. My big thing is just going out there and being able to show it.”

Even if Randle was healthy and not away from the team tending to a personal matter, McFadden would start. He’s earned it.