4 Reasons DeMarco Murray Is the Best RB in Dallas
Running back DeMarco Murray only has a half season of work under his belt for the Dallas Cowboys, but he's already solidified himself as the best rusher in Big D.
While there's an argument to be made that the aforementioned statement is a bit premature considering Felix Jones' body of work compared to Murray's, as the old saying goes: quality over quantity, Cowboys faithful.
The point of this slideshow isn't necessarily to show how bad of a running back Jones is, because there are aspects of his game that are a huge asset to Big D. The point is to show which of the rushers should carry the bulk of the load at running back.
Here's a look at the reasons for why No. 29 is the best Dallas has to offer at the position.
While Murray and Jones can both be accurately described as explosive runners, only the former can be called elusive.
When looking back to Jones' impressive career behind Darren McFadden at Arkansas and his time in Dallas, he has a strong stiff-arm and can truck over defenders on occasion. That being said, if that stiff-arm or lowered shoulder doesn't land on the defender, Jones is going down without question.
Murray, on the other hand, has an arsenal full of tricks to separate himself from defenders. His juke moves and ability to spin off tackles is a crucial part to the his game and was one of the main reasons for his success at Oklahoma.
The former Sooner understands how to keep the distance from the opposition whereas Jones simply attempts to fight his way through defenders.
2. Better Between the Tackles
When comparing Jones and Murray's skill in the open field, it becomes a game of splitting hairs, but between the tackles is a different story.
Murray has shown during his brief time with Dallas and over his illustrious college career that he can move the football upfield through the middle of the defense just as easily as he can on the outside.
While it isn't the most polished aspect of Murray's game, when given decent blocking he can maneuver his way past the linebackers and cut into the secondary as good as any rusher.
He possesses a deadly cutback technique that is simply better than what Jones can do. Given the amount of times Cowboys fans have seen No. 28 run up the middle for a gain of two or three yards, this argument likely won't be a heavily contested one.
While Jones has never averaged less than four yards a carry over a season in Dallas, that stat is a testament to his ability on the outside rather than grinding out yards following the center downfield.
3. Ability to Find Lanes and Follow Blockers
Though reasons two and three are semi-related, Murray has an uncanny ability to see the lanes as they happen and follow his blockers to the first down marker.
Jones is an explosive back and has shown this same skill on occasion, but when looking at game film he shows this mostly when he's running a halfback sweep or off-tackle play.
It should be noted that Jones has also proved to be a dynamic kick return threat during his Razorback and early Cowboy years, in large part due to his ability to follow a lane once it opens.
Given that credit, it seems odd he doesn't show this same ability when running between the tackles.
One of the main reasons Jones didn't start over Marion Barber early in his career and lost his starting gig to Murray last year is this weakness in his game.
Murray knows how to break a run for double-digit yard gains whether he's following tight end Jason Witten's block or following center Phil Costa straight up the gut.
Both have excellent field vision when they are in open space, but Murray can do the same when in the trenches as well.
4. Asset in the Passing Game
In his four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Jones has just five games with more than four receptions out of the backfield. In his rookie season, Murray posted two.
While the Cowboys have more than enough mouths to feed in the receiving game when looking at the receiving corps and Witten, quarterback Tony Romo loves to dump the football off to the running back when under pressure.
Over his career, Jones just hasn't shown that he has the ability to do anything special in those situations besides pick up a gain of five yards or so. That's not just on a pro level either. During his career at Arkansas, Jones posted just 383 yards receiving and only three touchdowns.
Murray, on the other hand, posted over 1,500 yards over his seasons as a Sooner, with 13 touchdowns to his name. In his rookie year with Dallas, he also racked up 183 yards in the receiving game, averaging seven yards per catch.
Murray's total in just 13 games is only just under Jones' 221 last year and beats his combined numbers in 2008 and 2009.
While both backs can help out in the passing game when plays break down for Romo, the more explosive and dynamic of the two in that regard is Murray.