By sitting, Lance Dunbar's value shows

OXNARD, Calif. -- To know what the Dallas Cowboys think about running back Lance Dunbar, all you need to see is that he was a healthy scratch, like Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray and Orlando Scandrick.

“Certainly we have a good feel for what he can do,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We just want to be selective with certain guys in preseason. DeMarco Murray did not play in the game. We felt the same way about Dunbar. As the preseason goes along, both those guys will get plenty of work. But he’s a very good football player. He shows us that whenever he gets a chance in practice here in training camp, as he has when he has had game opportunities in the past.”

The Cowboys believe Dunbar will be a big part of their offense, but he is far less proven than Murray. Dunbar has played 21 games in two seasons, with 51 carries for 225 yards and 13 catches for 92 yards. A foot injury in the preseason limited his work early last year, and his season ended on Thanksgiving with a knee injury that required surgery.

He has not missed a day of work since the spring.

“I don’t think it’s hard (to manage his work) because he’s a really good player,” Garrett said. “It’s not like you’re trying to work around limitations. You’re trying to give him opportunities. The only thing that’s challenging about it is we really, really like DeMarco Murray. And DeMarco Murray needs to get his touches. We want to hand him the ball, throw him the ball. When we give him the ball, good things happen. So that’s really the only competition, but that’s a good problem to have. It’s not like Dunbar can’t do this, can’t do that, we can only use him this way. We feel like we can do a lot of different things with him. We’ve just got to make sure we allow the other guys to have touches as well.”