Will DeMarco Murray live up to Cowboys’ expectations?

Will DeMarco Murray live up to Cowboys’ expectations?

Let’s be honest—we’re all pretty excited to see what second-year running back DeMarco Murray can do in Dallas this season. Expectations are through the proverbial roof, and perhaps for good reason. Murray has looked electric so far in the preseason, displaying the sort of versatility we haven’t seen in a running back since Emmitt Smith (yeah, I said it).

I don’t think there’s any doubt that Murray will be an efficient running back for the Cowboys in 2012, but the extent to which he can post bulk stats—meaning a whole lot of rushing and receiving yards—will depend on how Jason Garrett splits up touches. In a previous article on if the Cowboys should make Murray a workhorse back, I suggested the emerging star will probably see around 65 percent of running back snaps this year—right around the most Garrett has ever provided a lead back.

If the Cowboys go with a traditional “running back by committee” approach in 2012, I don’t think you’ll see Murray rush for much more than 1,000 yards, simply because he won’t receive the touches necessary to do it. Murray averaged 5.5 yards-per-carry in in his rookie campaign, and he’ll be unlikely to match that sort of efficiency in 2012.

Of course, there’s another option for Dallas if they want to get the most out of Murray without overusing him. Increasing Murray’s touch percentage—the number of times they hand or throw him the ball when he’s on the field—could allow the offense to maximize Murray’s presence without burning him out with excessive snaps.

And there is evidence that might happen. In his rookie season, Murray played 388 snaps. He rushed the ball 164 times and was targeted 34 times as a receiver, giving him a touch rate of 51.0 percent. Already this preseason, Murray has racked up a carry or target on 61.5 percent of his snaps. It’s a limited sample size, but interesting nonetheless.

With Felix Jones’ struggles in training camp, there’s a chance Murray could see more than 65 percent of the running back snaps. If that number jumps and Murray manages to maintain his 60-plus percent touch rate, his fantasy owners could be riding him into the playoffs in 2012.

Joe Barrett

Realtor DFW Agent

214.796.9110


Leslie Fogle Headshot
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Phone: 214-364-5888
Dated: August 22nd 2012
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About Leslie: I was born and raised in the Central Valley of California. I attended California State University, S...

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