Jason Garrett upbeat about Cowboys' choice to use running back committee

Lindsay H. Jones
Cowboys  RB Joseph Randle averaged nearly 7 yards per carry in 2014.

The Dallas Cowboys sure seem intent to make this running-back-by-committee thing work in their efforts to replace DeMarco Murray — so much so that days before their season opener against the New York Giants, head coach Jason Garrett has not officially named a starter and doesn't appear inclined to do so.

But imagine how difficult that must be for Joseph Randle, Murray’s backup last season, who has essentially been in a competition for the starting job since reporting for offseason workouts in April. Now the message seems to be there's no winner.

What about Darren McFadden? He signed as a free agent this spring, ostensibly to have a significant role, but he has no idea if he will get 15 touches Sunday, or five, or even none.

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The entire situation is currently a nightmare for fantasy football players (you couldn’t feel great about drafting Randle once the Cowboys acquired Christine Michael from the Seattle Seahawks, right?). But it might prove to be a bad situation for the Dallas offense and quarterback Tony Romo as well.

Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan might be extremely confident in their line, which boasted three Pro Bowlers in 2014 in helping Murray top the NFL in rushing yards, and may yet propel Randle, McFadden, Michael and Lance Dunbar to similar collective numbers. But to truly free up Romo and the passing game, the Cowboys need consistently productive carries.

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Murray produced week in and week out last year, and he also got better as games went on, with the more carries he received. With a committee approach, will anyone in this year's backfield manage to find that sort of rhythm?

Garrett is betting it will.

“There’s a freshness that each of those guys have. There are different styles. They can attack the defense different ways, and maybe ... they are more versatile than one guy might be,” Garrett said Wednesday. “A lot of different strengths you can tap into over the course of the game. But freshness and versatility are probably the biggest things.”

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At this point, the Cowboys might have no other option, which could have them rethinking the committee strategy next offseason, or maybe next month.


Follow Lindsay H. Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones