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Should the Dallas Cowboys Be Concerned About Their Running Back Situation?

May 21, 2013; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) participates in drills during organized team activities at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 23, 2013

Injuries happen every year and to every team during organized team activities. Some are serious, and others are not. Usually, when the injuries aren't breaks or tears that will require major surgery and/or long recovery periods, there's little to be concerned about when the regular season is still four months off. 

So in Dallas, there's little reason to stress out over the fact quarterback Tony Romo is missing the start of OTA's after undergoing a minor procedure to remove a cyst from his back. On the surface, the "hamstring tweak" that is keeping running back DeMarco Murray off the field would seem to be even less innocuous but that's before you consider Murray's propensity for getting hurt. 

Murray not only missed six games and was limited in others last year due to a sprained left foot, but he also failed to make it through his rookie season before suffering a broken right ankle and a high ankle sprain. Earlier that year, a hamstring injury forced the third-round pick to sit out a large chunk of training camp and the preseason. Also a bad hammy caused him to miss the 2008 BCS national championship game at Oklahoma (where injuries killed his stock late in his college career).

He doesn't seem worried. "It's really nothing,'' Murray told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan earlier this week. "It's a hamstring thing. Very minor, really just a precautionary thing.''

But he should know firsthand that these hamstring problems can linger. And if he can't recall what he went through in 2009 and 2011, I'm sure Miles Austin would be happy to fill him in on that effect. 

The Cowboys don't have a lot of experience behind Murray especially now that Felix Jones is gone. However, their decision to spend a fifth-round pick on Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle is already looking smart. 

Unfortunately, Randle is also being held back at the start of OTA's as he recovers from surgery on his thumb. If he needs time to adjust as a rookie and Murray can't stay healthy, the 'Boys could be left with Lance Dunbar and/or Phillip Tanner carrying the load. 

This is a team that averaged only 3.6 yards per carry with Murray hobbling last season which ranked second-last in the NFL. When they were forced to step in, Dunbar and Tanner averaged fewer than 3.0 yards per attempt. That will not get the job done and it's a big reason why Romo was under so much pressure.

It's early, but it's not a good sign that Murray is once again on the sideline. 

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