IRVING, Texas -- DeMarco Murray and his NFL-leading 1,845 yards are in Philadelphia with the Eagles. Bill Callahan, one of the architects of the Dallas Cowboys' running game in 2014, is in Washington with the Redskins.
Yet when Jerry Jones looks at the Cowboys' running game of 2015, he sees improvement.
"We're better," Jones said Wednesday at the Cowboys sponsors golf tournament. "Murray certainly is in that thought, but what we've got a chance to do with our depth, what we've got a chance to do with the talent, the competition that we have, and I'm assuming we can protect (Tony) Romo, which standing here last year, the concerns about his surgeries were more so than today. So if Romo can have the kind of year he had last year, then our running game will benefit from that. I'm talking about his individual abilities, his decision making throwing the ball."
In Jones' answer, he is talking about the total running game; not just the running backs. He is talking about the offensive line, which added La'el Collins, a first-round talent as an undrafted free agency. He is talking about the blocking of the tight ends and wide receivers. He is talking about new offensive line coach Frank Pollack, who learned under Callahan as a college player and again as an NFL assistant coach.
The job description will be different than last year when Murray dominated the work.
"I can't say who is going to be the lead dog right now, but those guys are going to compete and we're going to do what's necessary to win games," running backs coach Gary Brown said.
The competition starts now in the offseason and will carry through training camp and the preseason games before the Sept. 13 opener against the New York Giants.
Coach Jason Garrett has said the Cowboys' attack will be centered around the run game as it was in 2014, but he isn't ready to step out on the ledge like Jones and say it will be better.
"It certainly has a chance to be," Garrett said. "We've added the offensive linemen … and guys from the draft, some young guys who will be good competition, again both for the starting position and the backup roles. That is a good thing for your team. I do think another year in the system helps everybody. Obviously losing DeMarco Murray matters. DeMarco was a significant piece to our offensive success last year and he's not with us. But that gives other guys opportunities. When guys retire and guys move on to other teams and guys get injured, it provides opportunities for other players. We're excited to see how these guys do stepping up into those roles."