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Mailbag: Where Is The Playing Time For Joseph Randle?
EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ
Assuming Brian Waters becomes the full-time starter at right guard, do you believe the Cowboys will run the football more often, particularly in red zone and goal line situations?
Rowan:I actually think Waters might have been better in passing situations than running situations last weekend. I don’t think Waters will singularly change the way the Cowboys run the football, although I do imagine once he gets into the shape he needs to be in that the running game could get somewhat better. When he’s playing to his capabilities, he may make a difference inside the 5-yard line or close to the goal line, but I don’t see his presence significantly changing how often they run the ball.
David: I’m not sure one lineman will change much about the Cowboys’ philosophy on the offensive side of the ball. But the addition of Waters could give them more faith that the running game will work, which could lead to running playcalls on a more consistent basis. Maybe I was just seeing what I wanted to see, but it looked like they got some extra push on the occasions he was in the game. We’ll have to see how he holds up under more playing time.
Why isn't Joseph Randle getting more game time?
Rowan: Because they don’t think he’s ready. Regardless of what the outside opinion is, the Cowboys’ coaches believe DeMarco Murray is a feature back and the workhorse of the group when he’s healthy. For a rookie running back, taking handoffs is only part of the battle. They need to be able to block on passing situations, particularly on a team like the Cowboys which relies so heavily on the pass. When they believe Randle is ready to contribute, he’ll start seeing time. If the running game continues to struggle, they may speed along that process.
David: Normally, I’d say this is a ridiculous standard to expect a rookie running back to meet. But we all heard the quotes following the draft about what Randle’s role would be. It sure sounded, from listening to Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett, like Randle would be expected to shoulder a pretty significant load right away. It’s possible that Randle just isn’t delivering in practice, or maybe the coaches want to give as many opportunities as possible to Murray. But if the running game continues to struggle and Randle continues to sit the bench, it won’t exactly look good.