Dallas Cowboys, DeMarco Murray: Getting Their Swagger Back

Cedric HopkinsContributor IDecember 8, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 06:  Running back DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys leaps over Leroy Hill #56 of the Seattle Seahawks in the first half at Cowboys Stadium on November 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Seahawks 23-13.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

In the NFL, injuries lead to opportunities—just ask Tom Brady.

You can also ask Dallas Cowboys rookie running back DeMarco Murray. With Felix Jones sidelined with a shoulder and/or ankle injury, things looked dismal for the Cowboys' backfield. That lasted only a few days.

Just as Brady has taken full advantage of an injured Drew Bledsoe in September, 2001, Murray has taken the reins of the Cowboys' backfield.

Murray began his reign with a few monstrous games, including his first NFL touchdown that went for 91 yards. Some may say that over the past few games, Murray has loosened those reins with subpar performances. 

I disagree.

With essentially not playing the first five games of the season, Murray has still racked up 872 yards on 159 carries, good for 5.5 yards per attempt. In Weeks 11-13, though, he's looking more like a rookie dud than stud—he's lost his swagger.

In Week 14, Murray will get his swagger back. So what's so telling about Week 14, as compared to Murray's last three consecutive subpar performances? Tony Fiammetta.

Fiammetta is the Dallas Cowboys' fullback. And apparently, he's pretty good.

With Fiammetta as a lead blocker, Murray has charged for 601 yards on 75 carries (8.01 YPC). But ever since the fullback has been out with an inner ear problem, Murray has tiptoed for 198 yards on 59 carries, good for an average of 3.36 yards per carry.

Murray needs his lead blocker back, and fast. 

Take a look at Murray's first NFL touchdown. Fiammetta opened up the hole—eh, canyon—for Murray to run through. Fiammetta has been creating those holes all season—Murray just has the burst and power  to take full advantage of the opportunities. 

In Week 14, Murray will again take advantage of the opportunities Fiammetta will provide upon his return. And with Fiammetta's return, so returns Murray's swagger.