Running backs aren’t what they once were. It seems that teams have gone away from the traditional running back format and have transitioned to the running back by committee style.
Yet in this league DeMarco Murray stands as one of the few workhorse backs.
DeMarco Murray is making his paycheck by slowing the game down. His patience and vision allow him to find holes even when they are not there.
This is a rare attribute and is the reason why backs like Julius Jones and Felix Jones have failed to become mainstays in the Dallas backfield.
Murray almost seems like a magician when he bounces into a pile and then backs out to break off huge gains.
In 2012 Murray used his vision to rip off 18 runs of 10-plus yards and averaged 23 yards while doing it.
He Keeps Getting Better
One necessity in being a successful workhorse back is that you must be able to get better as the game goes on.
Too often you see players disappear in the second half because they aren’t adequately conditioned for their profession.
This isn’t the case with Murray. In 2011 Murray averaged 5.4 yards per carry in his first 10 attempts, 5.5 yards per carry in attempts 11-20, and 6 yards per carry when attempting to rush the ball over 20 times.
That is exactly what you want from your back when you are trying to win games. Murray is consistent and never disappears. He is the ideal compliment to Tony Romo in this balanced offense.
Murray’s longest run last year was 91 yards against the St. Louis Rams.
On third or fourth down with longer than 9 yards to go he averages 12.5 yards per carry. He also averages 6.3 yards per carry on 3rd-and-short.
As a receiver he averages 7 yards per catch.
My point here is that Murray is a dynamic and very versatile player. He can tire defenses out and break off the home-run type of rush. When you feel down and out feed the ball to him and he’ll bail you out.
When I say he’s explosive here I’m not saying that he’s breaking off touchdown runs every touch. What I am saying is that when he touches the ball he’s easily gaining more yardage than the league average and is a danger to break off large gains every play.
Gone are the days of backs like Jim Brown, Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. Now we have teams with two- or three-headed monsters who handle the rushing attack.
DeMarco Murray offers us a taste of the past. The NFL is growing more watered down by the year and soon “real” football will be just a memory to most of us.
Murray has all the skills to compete in any generation. He could have been successful as a Cowboy in the 70s, 80s and 90s. His vision, versatility, explosiveness and will to get better make him one of the best running backs in the league.
Besides his obvious traits, it’s his character and determination that make him the next NFL superstar.