News: Graziano: DeMarco Murray, Cowboys difference-maker

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    Dec 3
    AM ET
    By Dan Graziano |

    Tony Romo was brilliant Sunday night in the Dallas Cowboys' victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. But every quarterback who plays the Eagles these days is basically a mix of Tom Brady, Johnny Unitas and Flash Gordon, and anyway Romo's been good for a while now. He has 10 touchdown passes and two interceptions in his last five games, and the Cowboys have gone 3-2 in that stretch to keep kicking around on the fringe of the NFC playoff race.

    What was different about the Cowboys' offense on Sunday was the running back. And if you were still of the opinion that the Cowboys' running game could be the same with Felix Jones as it is with DeMarco Murray, this game had to have cured you. In his first game back since he sprained his foot in a Week 5 loss in Baltimore, Murray ran for 83 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Spectacular numbers? No, though there were some runs that made you gasp as Murray showed off a power and speed combination that's been absent in the Cowboys' run game since early October. But Murray was, above all else, effective. And the result was a balanced game plan of 33 run plays, 29 passes and an offense that moved the ball effectively all night. Per Jean-Jacques Taylor:

    Murray's impact is bigger than any stat you want to discuss after the Dallas Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-33, on Sunday night. He gives the Cowboys a toughness and a physical mentality they lack when he's not in the lineup. Murray is the reason Tony Romo had his best game, passing for 303 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Murray is the reason Jason Garrett didn't abandon the run with the Cowboys trailing by a touchdown at halftime like he usually does. He's the reason offensive line coach Bill Callahan was laughing and joking with all of his starters after the game. And he's the reason why more than one lineman talked about Garrett's commitment to running the ball the entire game.
    Read the rest:
  2. Idgit

    Idgit If you food, you gonna be ate. Staff Member

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    This game was pretty much a textbook example of the value of a running game. And I say that knowing full well what position I've always taken on the value of running game effectiveness.

    Statistically, it didn't look exceptionally good. But the plays Murray made changed the outcome of the game and made the passing game more effective. I'm not sure how to isolate that effect in the stats line, but it was obvious last night.
  3. Woods

    Woods Well-Known Member

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    One example was the throw I believe Romo made to Witten down the seam in the 4th Quarter that set up one of our TDs.

    Romo did a beautiful fake handoff to Murray and the Philly LB took a couple missteps towards the LOS. That completely opened up the middle of the field.

    Philly had to respect the run.
  4. Idgit

    Idgit If you food, you gonna be ate. Staff Member

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    Yep. Or that short yardage play he ended up taking off right tackle after being stymied up front. On top of the yardage, that's a fresh set of downs. Those are the plays that keep the offense on the field, and really add up over the course of a season.
  5. InmanRoshi

    InmanRoshi Zone Scribe

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    The stat line was hampered by the fact that Dallas had 4 rushes for -11 yards to close out the clock in garbage time, including a -11 yard DeMarco run and a -1 yard Romo kneel down.

    No doubt Murray made a huge difference from the very outset. Even if his burst wasnt there, the vision and instincts were a noticeable difference in what we've seen the last 6 weeks. Dallas really did no favors clinging to hope that Felix had gas left in the tank this preseason.
  6. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    I don't think our style of offense works without a running game because the passing routes are slow to develop. If D-Linemen can pin their ears back and pay little attention to controlling their gaps because the running game can't get past them, then they'll make it harder for the QB. If there's no running game, you can't use play action.

    Look at the coaches over the years that run the Zampese style of offense.

    Joe Gibbs
    Mike Martz
    Al Saunders
    Norv Turner
    Cam Cameron

    Each guy saw their offense flourish when the running game got going. I know this is sort of a 'weight stat', but look at Gibbs' record when he gets 20 carries rushing a game, it's incredible. Again, sort of a weighted metric, BUT it was only 20 carries a game. While the offense has to move to get more carries, 20 carries is still not a lot and Gibbs' teams I only think lost once when they had 20+ carries.

    Martz's offenses were great in St. Louis until he stopped running the ball and doing those crazy Mike Martz things. That's why it worked with Vermeil, a guy who could veto those crazy Mike Marts things.

    Saunders had his prime years of an unstoppable offense in KC with Priest Holmes, then Larry Johnson. He couldn't run the ball well in Washington and it collapsed like a house of cards.

    Same with Cameron when he went to Miami. And Norv has always been that way.

    The other offensive styles would love to have good running games, but it's not a necessity. The Zampese style scheme pretty much has to have it. The difference is if it has it, it's almost unstoppable. But if it doesn't have it, it's a mess.

  7. CowboysYanksLakers

    CowboysYanksLakers Well-Known Member

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    Demarco Murray is a special talent... He's truly a difference maker!
  8. JohnsKey19

    JohnsKey19 Well-Known Member

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    Murray is a very good RB. While Felix when healthy is faster and has a better burst, Murray is FAR superior as a runner when you factor in vision, instincts, pace and ability to run behind his pads. I like Felix but he needs the hole clearly defined for him to be successful. That's not realistic at this level especially when playing behind a relatively weak OL. This is why our running game goes down the drain mostly with Murray out. We will need to address backup RB this offseason.
  9. Risen Star

    Risen Star Likes Collector Zone Supporter

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    I'm not buying it. I'm an OU fan as well as a Cowboys fan. I have every reason to support Murray but the real difference was the opponent.

    Is our running game better with him? Sure. Is it a quality running game that can balance an offense? No. Not even close.
  10. Future

    Future Intramural Legend

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    The left side of the offensive line was very good in the run game last night as well. It's probably a combination of Murray, Tyron and Livings, and the Eagles sucking, but the line had a much better game than it has in a least half of it.
  11. ddh33

    ddh33 Active Member

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    One of my big complaints about this offense this season is that I couldn't find a real identity.

    I saw a team that had no power running game, wouldn't just spread it out like the Packers or Saints, and had no play-action passing game like the Skins or Broncos.

    But my hope has always been that maybe the team does have an identity but injuries have robbed them of that identity. I know things looked better with Murray in the game.

    Like I said, it's just a hope of mine.
  12. Teren_Kanan

    Teren_Kanan Well-Known Member

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    Our Offense is on a completely different level when we have a Running game. We actually score points.

    Murray is a huge difference maker, and knowing how bad our OLine is, I feel he is a much better back than he will probably be giving credit for. Get a real Oline and I feel he might be spoken about with the best of them.

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