Taking Note Of Murray's Workload

A little simple math here, under the assumption that Felix Jones will return from his high ankle sprain, but not significantly eat into the touches DeMarco Murray has earned in the last four weeks.

During that span, Murray has averaged 21.5 touches per game, reaching a high of 26 in each of the past two games, and a low of nine in the blowout loss at Philadelphia. Had that game gone differently, the Cowboys certainly would've been happy to feed Murray even more.

A few things to consider here. First, is it dangerous for a young back to receive 25 touches and upwards too often? Jason Garrett and most offensive coaches around the league are big believers in using multiple backs. It keeps everyone fresh, limits the chance for injury and has the possibility of leading to improved play all around because the different backs offer different specializations.

But Murray is doing everything so well right now that the Cowboys seemingly have little choice but to ride him for everything he's worth. Since he didn't have a huge impact early in the year, his workload probably won't top out at something that could be damaging in future seasons, but by stacking weeks and weeks of heavy use on top of one another, the Cowboys may risk burning Murray out by the end of the regular season.

At the same time, all backs will acknowledge that receiving more carries allows them to better get into a rhythm.

There are very few of the so-called every down backs in the NFL, but Murray has been used that way of late, getting the ball early and often.

Probably the best example of the true featured back in the league, Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, a college teammate of Murray's, is averaging 21.8 touches per game. Ray Rice of Baltimore is at 20.4. The Bears' Matt Forte is taking 23.1 combined rushes and receptions each week.

Either the Cowboys will soon decide to marginally scale back Murray's workload, or they are getting ready to see just how much he can handle.

If they do have a true every-down back in Murray, they'll be glad they found out so soon. 

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