IRVING, Texas – Sometimes, it's easy to guess the storylines of a particular week just by following the media. That was never more evident than Tuesday afternoon, when Lance Dunbar looked up to find a wall of cameras and microphones in front of his locker.
Dunbar is about to finish his third season with the Cowboys, so he's no stranger to the media. Suffice to say, though, that with DeMarco Murray's status in doubt after suffering a broken hand, both he and Joseph Randle were much more in-demand for interviews than normal.
"I'm going to look at it the same way. I'm going to prepare the same way," Dunbar said. "You always have to be ready, just in case your number is called. If my number is called, then I'll be ready if he's not able to go."
It's an interesting contrast, because neither Randle nor Dunbar is a stranger to the playing field – it's just been hard to predict when they'll surface. Randle started two games as a rookie in 2013 when Murray injured his knee, and he has 237 yards and two touchdowns this season. Dunbar has touched the ball at least once in all but three games this season, and has 298 all-purpose yards this year.
"You can't replace a D-Mo, you know – he's the best back in the league," said Ronald Leary. "But Dunbar and Randle, when they got their chances, they did their job also. We've got a lot of faith in them. They'll get it done."
It still remains to be seen what their workload will look like Sunday against Indianapolis. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning he thinks Murray will be a game time decision. On Tuesday afternoon, the injured starter entered the locker room with a thick bandaged wrapped around his forearm and hand.
"He's a tough guy. He'll sell out for his team, he wants to win and he's mentally tough," Dunbar said.
If it does come to that, though, there didn't seem to be much doubt that the Cowboys' backups can take care of business.
"I feel like I can get the job done, definitely. If they ask me to do that – next man up – I don't want to let the team down," Randle said. "I know this is a huge game for our season, so I'm going to go out there and be fully ready to go."
Randle in particular has shown flashes of big-play ability in his limited looks this season. He's averaging seven yards per carry this year, and six of his 34 carries have gone for 12 yards or more – including touchdown runs of 17 and 40 yards, and a tempo-setting 38-yarder against Seattle.
"Randle will make, without a question, a good accounting of himself," said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones on Tuesday morning. "He's got some special skills, I think he'll be good on his protection and these guys can catch the ball, now. So we're not dismissing Murray's absence as much as I am talking about how much these guys give me a good feeling going into the game."
The true preparation begins for the Colts starting Wednesday morning, as the team was mainly cleaning up the film from the Eagles game during Tuesday meetings. Dunbar said he expects the routine to largely stay the same – even if the crowd around him is anything but.
"Our line does a great job blocking, the receivers block and the runners run," he said. "I believe in the guys up front, I believe in the other backs, I believe in our team and our coaches – we can still get the job done."