Cowboys offensive player to watch: RB DeMarco Murray

November 17, 2011

RB DeMARCO MURRAY

How he beats you: With a blend of explosiveness, vision and patience, Murray has erupted in Dallas, averaging nearly 19 carries for more than 150 yards rushing in the last four games (a season’s best 3-1 stretch for the Cowboys). “He has had some big stats, that’s for sure,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan says. “He’s got great speed. He has the ability to break an 80, 85-yarder here and there. He’s done a good job with some stiff-arms against some big runs. He’s 6-foot, 220 pounds and has 4.4 speed.”

How to stop him: When he came out of Oklahoma, there were questions about Murray’s durability because of his running style, but so far he has seemed to hold up just fine. The Redskins did better against the run last week, and they will need to do better this week. They must be disciplined in plugging those run gaps and sure in their tackling. Aside from Reggie Bush’s 18-yard touchdown, the Redskins kept the Dolphins from breaking any big run plays last week, and this week they must put together a similar effort to keep Murray in check

Bottom line: Since Murray’s emergence, the Cowboys have become more dangerous. The pressure on quarterback Tony Romo has been eased.. “The way he’s running the ball is making Romo’s job a lot easier. He’s not having to make a lot of plays now,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “They’re a lot more balanced. They’re legit now with him running the ball.” Prior to Murray taking over as workhorse, Dallas averaged 22.4 points a game and owned a 2-5 record. After coaches increased his role, the Cowboys have averaged 27.0 points a game and are 3-1.

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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