MOBILE, Ala. – One year later, there are still questions about the Cowboys' running back position – though they're admittedly of a different nature.
Concerns abounded about Dallas' ball carriers after a bad year toting the rock in 2012, as DeMarco Murray missed six games and the Cowboys finished last in the league in rushing. In the 12 months since, the Cowboys drafted Joseph Randle to add depth to the position. And of course, Murray responded to that with a 1,121-yard, nine-touchdown Pro Bowl season.
"DeMarco Murray had a very good year for us – stayed healthy for the most part. If he had stayed healthy in other years he probably would have similar numbers and similar production," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. [embedded_ad]
Murray now prepares to enter a contract season coming off a top-10 finish among NFL running backs. Of course, compounding the issue is Garrett's caveat, "for the most part." Murray still missed two games last season, giving him nine missed games for his three-year career.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said that statistic is still a problematic one, but he is happy with his situation at running back.
"I'm troubled, but not to the extent that I want to do anything about it," he said.
Randle started twice during Murray's brief absence last October, rushing for a combined 33 times for 91 yards in games against Philadelphia and Detroit. The rookie's role was somewhat mitigated after that, especially as Murray tore off a torrid final month of the season.
Despite that, Jones said he still feels good about his draft pick's progress.
"We really have a lot of promise for Randle – he's every bit the player I thought he was going to be when we drafted him, Randle," Jones said.
Jones also mentioned diminutive running back Lance Dunbar, who showed a glimpse of his potential with a big night in the Thanksgiving win against Oakland. A knee injury suffered in the same game ended Dunbar's season, but the expectation is he will be ready for the Cowboys' offseason program.
Of course, Jones is never one to rule something out, considering all the variables that go along with a typical draft. But the state of affairs appears to be enough for the Cowboys going forward.
"I like where we are at running back, and it would have to be a pretty unique situation – but those are there in the draft – to draft another running back," Jones said. "But we've got some pretty good competition there, especially if we want to keep a fullback on the roster."