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29) Will Murray Stay On Field Enough To Reach Full Potential?


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 will take a different question each day that is hovering over this team.

With 29 days until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., today's question centers on the starting tailback.

29) Will Murray Stay On Field Enough To Reach Full Potential?

When it comes to pressing questions for the Cowboys heading into 2013, this one might just be right there at the top of it all.

DeMarco Murray has shown the ability to be a game-changer. When he arrived on the scene as a rookie in 2011, breaking Emmitt Smith's single-game rushing record before his first true start, Murray was pegged as the next great back for the Cowboys.

Yet, the Cowboys still haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher since Julius Jones in 2006. Murray fractured his ankle at the end of his rookie year, then sustained a sprained foot injury that shelved him for six weeks last year.

When he's in the game, he's productive. But Murray has missed nine games in two years. And considering he was drafted in the third round out of Oklahoma with injury concerns, there is reason to doubt if he will ever take his game to the next level, simply because of injuries.

The Cowboys didn't actually make offseason acquisitions to push him. They drafted Joseph Randle in the fifth round, and the Oklahoma State rookie will likely rotate with Lance Dunbar and possible Phillip Tanner for backup duties.

The Cowboys apparently are putting their eggs in Murray's basket once again. And they have to be hoping his third season in the NFL will indeed be a healthy charm.  

Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let's take a closer look at the number 29:

  • Some of the better special teams players in Cowboys history have worn No. 29. Kenny "the Shark" Gant strutted his stuff for five years (1990-94) while Keith Davis played 2002 at No. 40, before switching to 29 when he returned for five season (2004-08).
  • One of the more spectacular plays in Cowboys history occurred from a No. 29, when Woody Dantzler returned a kickoff 84 yards for a score against San Francisco in 2002. Dantzler broke numerous tackles, stiff-armed the kicker to the ground and tight-roped the sideline before sprinting to the end zone.
  • The second-longest run from scrimmage for the Cowboys in a Super Bowl was a 29-yard scamper by Tony Dorsett in Super Bowl XIII. Emmitt Smith has the top mark with a 38-yard run in Super Bowl XXVII.
  • The Cowboys' record for most rushing yards in a season is 29, set in 1995. All but four came from Emmitt Smith, who set an NFL single-season record that year.
  • The Nov. 3 meeting between the Cowboys and Vikings this season will be the 29th series meeting between the two franchises. Minnesota and Dallas are tied 14-14 in the all-time series. 
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