IRVING, Texas – Don't expect the hurry-up and no-huddle offenses to be employed immediately Sunday.
The Cowboys have struggled to find ways to score in the first halves of games, and only until they're in catch-up mode do they seem to find a way to move the ball and put points on the board consistently.
But head coach Jason Garrett doesn't plan on entirely abandoning a rushing attack that's yielded the fewest total yards, yards per attempt and yards per game on the ground in the NFL. The Cowboys have struggled to run the football this year, particularly after losing DeMarco Murray in the Baltimore game in Week 6.
"We've got to run the ball better," Garrett said. "We've got to run the ball more. We have to be effective running it more early on in the ballgame so we don't get behind. DeMarco has been a big part of that, but we have to be able to run the ball if he's not able to go."
After setting records running for 227 total yards in Baltimore, the Cowboys rushed for 85 combined yards or fewer in five of the next six games.
Garrett said the different combinations of offensive linemen have contributed to the unsatisfactory rushing attack, but that can't serve as an excuse. The Cowboys have also played catch-up most of the season and were forced to throw the ball to get back into it, but the low rushing average of 3.5 yards per rush this season demonstrates that the rushing ineffectiveness isn't simply because they're aren't running often.
That might change if the Cowboys can get Murray back this week.
"We knew going in he had the foot sprain," Garrett said. "What we had to do was be patient with him, (there are) a lot of different thresholds that he had to get across before we get him out to practicing. He's chomping at the bit to play."
Garrett said Murray must be fully operational and capable of planting off his foot before he's ready to get in a game, which could happen Sunday against the Eagles.
"Pain is a part of it," Garrett said. "Your body tells you what it's capable of doing, and that's one of the ways it does. But I also think it's just performance. You have to be able to push off from really straight line-type situations, but when you're a running back, your body can be in so many different positions, so you've got to be strong enough to push off and maintain your balance and the explosiveness that you need to play that position."