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DeMarco Murray Proving Offensive Line Makes The Running Back


It’s one of the most debated “chicken or the egg” conundrums in the NFL: does the bulk of a running back’s production come from the big boys blocking up front, or is it the runner’s vision and elusiveness that makes his offensive line look good?

Well, the Dallas Cowboys gambled on that question this offseason, and two weeks into meaningful football, it appears the answer is beginning to take shape.

Last season, DeMarco Murray won the rushing title and was virtually inseparable with Le’Veon Bell for the title of “best back in football.” Behind the Great Wall of Dallas, Murray ate up 100-yard games like Vince Wilfork eats Houston BBQ. He regularly exploded into the second level untouched and carried the load frequently enough for some to question if his monster workload would come back to bite him come playoff time.

On Sunday afternoon, dressed in Philly green and facing his old team, Murray carried the ball thirteen times for two yards. Last week against the Falcons, he was good for a paltry nine yards on eight totes. Were it not for this week’s “long” of nine yards, his total rushing yards would hardly be worth the risk of running the play in the first place.

The Eagles’ offensive line can’t pull, trap or form holes inside the tackle box, severely limiting Murray even when he gets out of the backfield. Far too often, he has opposition hands on him by the time he touches the ball himself. It doesn’t matter how zippy you are at that point; if a 290-pounder catches you at a standing start, you’re going down.

Dare we say, Murray looks like any other running back in the league without the help he once had. The Dallas rushers aren’t exactly tearing up the turf in his place, but the difference is that the Cowboys are good enough to get the job done in other ways.

Until Murray can either get some improved blocking or learn to work with his line’s deficiencies, he will continue to look like a severe sunk cost in an offense that has so far overpromised and underdelivered.

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