Seven weeks later, it appears the Cowboys will be getting their primary rusher back.
In the six games that Murray’s missed since, the Cowboys have surpassed 90 total rushing yards in an entire game just once. In that time, they’ve become the worst rushing team in the NFL. No team averages fewer than the Cowboys’ 78 rushing yards per game.
Signs point towards Murray being able to return for Sunday’s game against the Eagles. While the running back has remained silent on the subject, his participation in practice implies his return on Sunday will occur.
Murray was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, but with
“DeMarco hasn’t been able to practice very much football,” Garrett said. “(Wednesday) was the first time that he ran football plays. He was limited throughout practice. We want to see how he reacts to that and see how he feels today coming off that work. We’ll evaluate him day by day and see what his availability will be going forward.”
Offensive line coach Bill Callahan gave a more optimistic view of Murray’s chances to play after Thursday’s practice.
“I’m excited that we’re getting guys back, getting Cook back, Murray back,” Callahan said. “I’m hopeful. We’ll see how the week plays out and see how he does tomorrow.”
Murray took the field Thursday with the rest of the team. After being stretched by a trainer, he left the field and went to the training room. However, all fears evaporated when Murray jogged back on to the field a few minutes later with a helmet on.
“He’s progressing,” Romo said. “We’re kind of taking it day by day. If he’s ready to go, it will be a boost. If not, some guys will just have to continue to step up.”
Despite Murray’s silence on the subject, there seems to be a few subtle claims within the organization that imply he should be ready to play. On Thursday, Witten talked about Murray as if his return was already confirmed.
“He’s a dynamic back,” Witten said. “There’s no question about that. We can’t expect him to be something more. We have to give him holes and opportunities to run the ball. Obviously that will be a spark for us, getting a player like that. He does a good job after he gets hit and contact and getting north and south and getting positive yards.”
Perhaps the most revealing sentiment came from Murray himself. He refused to talk about his status on Sunday, but did joke with reporters that he would be able to “catch” fellow Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson, claiming that he had five games left to do so. With only five games left on the schedule, that would have to include this Sunday’s game.
Garrett claimed that the offensive game plan and schemes likely wouldn’t change, even with Murray in the lineup.
“We just like to give him some opportunities,” Garrett said. “He’s a good runner. He typically makes more than what’s blocked and is able to run the ball inside as well as outside.”
The official status of Murray may remain uncertain until Sunday night, but he’s clearly healthier than he’s been since injuring his foot in October. If Murray is indeed able to suit up against the Eagles, he’ll provide something that the Cowboys have desperately missed.
“He brings something to our running game,” Garrett said. “There’s no question about that. I think the (other) guys have done a good job of trying to take advantage of their opportunities, but I think DeMarco has given us that element the past couple years when he’s in.”