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Mailbag: Can Murray Improve His Role In The Passing Game?
DeMarco Murray reminds me of a stronger Tony Dorsett, and the Cowboys were certainly successful with screen plays and other passing options with Dorsett. Why isn't Murray utilized in similar fashion? He certainly has the vision if not the extra gear. Seems to be a waste of a valuable resource. Cole Beasley is in the same boat.
Bryan: I can’t begin to tell you how many practices I sat there in Oxnard during training camp and watched this offense go through screen periods, only to see them not run it as part of the game plan or when they did, execute them so poorly that you would never want to see them attempt them again. I understand where you are going with the Dorsett and Murray comparison hands-wise and I agree with you about the extra gear because that is not in Murray’s tool box. It appears the harder that Garrett and this offensive staff works on this area of their game, the coordination between the backs and the line just doesn’t mesh. All of the Cowboys running backs can catch the ball and to not be able to make it work is a waste.
David: I think it’s a great question, and two things come to mind. Firstly, the second half of 2013 is probably the best offensive line play Murray has had to this point of his career. It not only showed in his rushing total, but he also set new career highs in receptions and receiving yards. If the line continues to improve, you may see those numbers go up, as well. Secondly, Scott Linehan just produced not one, but two running backs with 50-catch, 500-yard receiving seasons in Detroit last year. So it seems he knows how to get the ball to his backs in more ways than just one. I not only expect Murray’s performance to improve in this aspect, but I think Linehan will find more ways to utilize Lance Dunbar in the same regard.
EL PASO, TX
The more film I see of Aaron Donald, the more I fall in love with him. Aside from Jadeveon Clowney, I think he is the best defensive lineman available. I'm scared that the Bears might take him at No. 14. Do you think it would be worth moving up a few spots in front of the Bears to take a Geno Atkins-type player?
Bryan: There is no doubt that it will be an interesting two or three picks ahead of the Cowboys during this draft. The problem is that how much are you willing to go up for the player? I believe the Giants could be in the mix for Donald as well at No. 12. The Rams have a history of bailing out of their pick, so is this a deal that you have to make on the clock and are they willing to take your third rounder? I could see them shopping this pick to the highest bidder, so with that being said, are you willing to part with your second to make sure that happens? With what I know about the type of players in the second, third and fourth rounds, I am more willing to just sit there and see what happens. The signing of Henry Melton allows you that thought.
David: This is what makes the Melton signing so significant. Before Melton joined up, defensive tackle was an absolute must-have position. Don’t get me wrong -- it’s still a position of need, but not as dire of a need. Having Melton there gives the Cowboys some leeway to see what happens. That’s essentially what Stephen Jones said on the radio last week: when you start to reach for a player because of need, you tend to make mistakes. So it’s nice to have the peace of mind knowing there’s a solid player at three-technique if things don’t fall the right way in the draft. With the holes on this roster, I think it’s smarter to maximize the positions you can address, rather than focus on one prospect.