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Mailbag: Where Are The Role Players On Offense?


After losing three fumbles in the first three games. What can Demarco Murray do to improve his ball security?

Rowan: He could not hold the ball out wide while he pumps his arm to run, but his running style hasn't changed. It's hard to say, because you don't want to change too much when he also leads the league in rushing by a large margin. There are a lot of times where he'll hold the ball kind of loosely out to his side with only his hand, rather than tucked into his chest, but it's possible he doesn't run as smoothly by doing that.

David: We talked to Jason Garrett about this for a good bit on Monday afternoon, and I don't think we reached a satisfactory conclusion. Murray has now lost as many fumbles in three weeks as he had in his entire career before 2014. Did he change something about his style during the offseason, or have teams figured out a way to exploit a weakness in his technique? This is going to sound stupid, but I almost think the answer might be to not make too big of a deal about it. Running back is an incredibly instinctual, habit-based position. Obviously you need him to stop fumbling, but I'd be worried about giving him the yips if he's too focused on how he's carrying the ball.

I thought Lance Dunbar was supposed to have a role similar to Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles, and Escobar was going to be a big receiving threat. Why haven't they been involved in the offense?

Rowan:Regarding the last guy you mentioned, all the second-round tight ends were supposed to have a big receiving role, dating back to the times of Martellus Bennett and Anthony Fasano. It's just never happened with Jason Witten as the lead dog, and it may never happen. As for Dunbar, it's been hard for the Cowboys to work him in when Murray's been as efficient as he has. They don't want to take Murray off the field. They've tried to work Dunbar in certain packages, sometimes as a fifth receiver, but when Murray's running the way he is, there won't be a ton of chances [embedded_ad] for Dunbar.

David: I think the Cowboys want to use both of the guys you mentioned, but it seems like they only want to use them in certain, pre-ordained situations. The problem with that logic is that no football game ever goes completely according to the script. I'm not sure they believe in either guy as an every-down, every-situation-type of player. So when games go off the script, like they have often so far this season, their opportunities are going to take a dip. Fortunately for the Cowboys, they're getting fantastic production from their Pro Bowlers. DeMarco Murray is on pace for more than 2,000 rushing yards and Dez Bryant is on pace for 100-plus catches and 1,300 yards. When opponents figure out how to slow those two down, you might see greater contributions from the role players.

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