IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is still in sight.
Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and three full seasons removed from the playoffs, the Cowboys have plenty of question marks surrounding them as they prepare for the 2013 season.
As we count down the days to camp, the writers of DallasCowboys.com will take a different question each day that is hovering over this team.
With 22 days until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., today’s question centers on one of the most recognizable and prolific players to ever put on a football jersey.
22) Will One Of The Running Backs Eclipse The 100-Yard Mark Multiple Times?
It would be difficult for any team to find another Emmitt Smith, who put together 11 straight 1,000-yard seasons at running back. That statistic demonstrates the uncanny reliability and durability of the league’s all-time leading rusher.
The game’s changed since then. Passing offenses have become more prevalent and most teams feature two-back systems.
But that doesn’t mean leading backs can’t thrive. Last year, 16 running backs finished with at least 1,000 yards during the season, many of them putting together multiple games in which they eclipsed the 100-yard mark.
It’s still possible for running backs to put up gaudy numbers like Smith, who put together a whopping 76 100-yard rushing games throughout his career.
It seemed like the Cowboys and running back
Injuries eventually caught up with him, the offensive line struggled to open holes when he was healthy and he wouldn’t finish with another 100-yard game the rest of the year. Murray and Jones both thrived against the Ravens’ defense later in the year, but neither back hit the century mark in rushing after the opener.
If Murray can stay healthy and Randle can become what the Cowboys hope he can be, it’s possible a Dallas running back can at least begin a journey to cut into Smith’s 33-game lead over all Cowboys in 100-yard rushing performances.
Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let’s take a closer look at the number 22:
- Smith’s unquestionably the greatest Cowboys player to wear the No. 22, but a few other notable players had done so before him as well. Among them, receiver Bob Hayes wore the number from 1965-74 and defensive back Victor Scott wore it from 1984-88.
- The Cowboys have had the No. 22 overall pick in the NFL Draft four different times. Interestingly enough, two of them were running backs in Charley Young and Felix Jones. The other two picks were tackle Willie Townes and tight end David LaFleur.
- Four times the Cowboys have played in 22-degree weather games. As expected, all of them were on the road. They went 1-3 in those games, but the lone win was a 30-3 blowout win at St. Louis. The Cowboys have only played in five games colder than that.
- Drew Pearson played in 22 playoff games during his career, scoring eight touchdowns and recording 1,105 receiving yards, placing him second on the team’s all-time playoff receiving list behind only Michael Irvin.
- Pearson also holds the team record for most consecutive playoff games with a reception with 22.