Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs vs. Cowboys: Scouting Dallas RB DeMarco Murray

When you think of the 2013 Dallas Cowboys’ offense, chances are you think of Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and of course, Jason Witten.

The common thread between those four players is the passing game, and for good reason. Romo, as inconsistent as he can be, is a tremendous quarterback when he’s on, and Bryant, Austin and Witten are exceptional targets.

While it could be easy to get caught up in Dallas’ passing game, let’s take a few moments to focus on the running attack. The Cowboys’ running game may not get the attention it once did, and much of that may have to do with the fact that their No. 1 back, DeMarco Murray, has struggled to stay healthy.

Murray played in 13 games in 2011, and only appeared in 10 in 2012. Still, he’s totaled 1,646 yards and six touchdowns in those limited experiences.

When Murray is healthy, he’s a great running back, and for all intents and purposes, he should be ready to go this Sunday at Arrowhead.

Considering he’s still somewhat of an unknown in the NFL,  I felt it was a good idea to examine Murray from a scouting perspective. Even though he only garnered 86 yards on 20 touches last weekend against the Giants, he displayed a lot of the attributes that you look for in a No. 1 running back at the NFL level.

Take a look at the end zone film of this zone stretch run to the left, courtesy of NFL Rewind (markings are my own). This is a 11 yard gain from Murray in the first quarter. Even as the play develops, you can clearly see the hole Murray is aiming for: Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 12.53.23 PM

Notice how when the edge starts to close, he plants his foot into the ground and explodes up field through a fairly small hole. That shows patience, explosion and tremendous vision:Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 12.53.43 PM

Once he gets through the hole, you’ll see him lower his shoulder and play some physical football, which allows him to pick up extra yards. Even after the hit, he keeps moving his feet and spins off, finally going down after the second clean-up hit:Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 12.53.59 PM

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 12.54.05 PMScreen Shot 2013-09-13 at 12.54.11 PMIn just one simple stretch play, Murray displayed patience, explosion and physicality. Look out for those three traits this Sunday, Addicts.

Murray is also going to be an option out of the backfield. He caught eight passes for 39 yards last weekend against the Giants, and in his previous two seasons, he’s totaled 61 receptions for 434 yards. He’s shifty and athletic enough to make a defense pay once he gets out into open space:

DeMarco Murray may be somewhat of an enigma to Chiefs fans because of his lack of exposure due to injuries, but he’s a player I, for one, will be watching intently this Sunday as Kansas City takes on Dallas.

One great way to counter the Chiefs’ aggressiveness on defense would be to rely on the running game, so don’t be surprised if Murray gets some looks early and often at Arrowhead.

After all, we’re still talking about the same running back who can do this:


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Tags: Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray Kansas City Chiefs

  • Chiefswatch

    I do not think any Chiefs fan that follows this site overlooks Demarco Murray. He is a good running back. However I think he is a tad overrated. Sometimes persons are undrafted or overlooked for a decent reasons and Murray may turn out to be an example of that. Often the success of Running backs is directly correlated to a strong passing attack or a superb Oline (LJ is a good example of the latter). We do not fear the running game of this this Dallas squad for we match up tremendously better in that phase of the game. As MJD found out you cannot run on this team very easily and do not expect that having a much improved passing attack will make a difference. We can rush with very few. Furthermore expect Dontari to have to be double teamed thanks to a rook center so Houston and Hali will be free to easily get around their man and make a tackle. Hell you can’t even factor in DJ who is a tackle machine. Nope if they win this game it will be through the air. Which I do not think likely so I am giving the Chiefs 14 points over this mediocre Dallas squad on the road.

    • berttheclock

      He was overlooked to a degree as 5 RBs were taken ahead of him. But, he did go in the 3rd round. Now, before any fan of the Chiefs get in a dither that, perhaps, the Chiefs passed over a fine RB, I would suggest they peruse that 2011 draft and see the fellow who was picked just ahead of him, in fact, by the Chiefs. Now, fans, would you rather see Murray play for the Chiefs or Houston, who was the player selected just ahead of him?

    • Danny W

      No I new about Murray when he was down in Oklahoma. I thought he should have played ball an extra year down there. Come to find out he’s not that bad. Honestly running backs are a dime a dozen any more. You can find one in just about any round.

  • Chief Hokie

    Murray definitely is a weapon that we need to factor into our gameplan, but I’m a little more concerned with how our secondary will deal with Bryant, Austin, and Witten. This game will be an excellent gauge in determining the value of our offseason additions in the secondary.

  • Danny W

    I think this is where Mike Devito has to make his bread. Our front three will have to really stuff the gaps and hopeful slam him to the ground. If he get’s to Jordan and DJ’s level then I have all the confidence in those two thus far. Jordan is the only one I hold reservations for. He showed flashes of being a play maker though in the last game. I think Hali and Houston will keep their contain and thus the D line will catch up. It’s going to be a different blocking scheme than we faced in Florida as well it appears Dallas does the zone blocking scheme. I think Sutton will have them playing against it in practice. I think we hit them in the mouth on defense. They’ll probably get a few big plays because we’re pretty aggressive (thankfully) and they have the capability. But this should be the weekend the Chiefs defense really raises some eyebrows around the league as probably the best defense in the AFC. Not just the West but the entire AFC. Second int he NFL only to San Francisco.

    Hey Andrew.
    Bit of gripe. A small one…..How come you never comment man? All the other contributors pretty well make time. Shoot even over at pride the Thorman’s comment too. I know your busy but it would be courteous.

    • Andrew Kulha

      Hey Danny. Thanks for the feedback there. I know that’s something I need to work on. With my work with 247Sports and coaching it is tough to comment, but I’m looking to make that more of a priority…starting here! Thanks again.

  • antony555

    We remember the last time our clubs played it was a little known player by the name of Miles Austin that torched our secondary for some ungodly numbers, he is healthy and maybe their number two receiver behind Dez Bryant but if Tony Romo is not pressured he will light our secondary up all day. So our interior defensive line will have to play in beast mode for our end rushers to make Romo eat dirt all afternoon. When all is said and done the Dallas papers are counting this game won before its played, I say Chiefs 24- 14 and 2-0!