IRVING -- Rookie running back DeMarco Murray wouldn’t say if he’s sharing the first-team reps with fellow running back Tashard Choice in practice, but it appears he might start in place of the injured Felix Jones in Sunday’s game vs. St. Louis.
“I’m ready,” Murray said of Wednesday’s practice at Valley Ranch. “I’ve been working hard since I got here. I know the playbook and I’m mentally and physically ready.”
On the season, Murray in a reserve role has just 71 yards on 24 carries. But Murray is getting better each time he carries the ball. He’s fully recovered from a hamstring injury suffered during to the lockout that prevented him from starting training camp on time.
Coach Jason Garrett noted Murray is the healthiest he’s been.
“I do agree with that,” Murray said. “Not so much just the health issue, just being relaxed, just going out there and playing football and not thinking as much. And not worrying about stuff you can’t control just going out there and having fun and playing hard.”
Murray, a third-round pick from Oklahoma, was drafted to challenge Choice for playing time and that apparently has happened.
Choice politely declined to speak with reporters. He’s been the subject of trade rumors the last few months and when the trade deadline passed he remained with the Cowboys.
Team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday it was doubtful the team would make any trades and the injury to Jones, expected to miss two-to-four weeks, probably kept Choice on the team.
Murray will try to boost a sagging running game that’s averaging just 3.4 yards per game. The Cowboys average 84.8 yards per game, which ranks 27th in the league.
And Murray is not without confidence. A quiet confidence in fact. He said he’s done a nice job on the blitz pickup while he’s on the field and has a command of the playbook. Murray wants to be more patient when he runs the ball, something he’s noticed in Jones’ game.
“Just stop thinking and going out there and trusting my ability and trusting in my technique and things like that,” Murray said. “Just having fun when it came down to it, it’s different making the transition from college to the NFL. The speed and you have to worry about different things, just getting comfortable with the play calls and things like that.”