Murray makes the Cowboys' offense hum

Hey, so, while we're debating things, I call your attention to ESPNDallas.com's latest Hot Button, in which Todd Archer and Calvin Watkins discuss which player is the most important to the Dallas Cowboys' offense. Todd picks quarterback Tony Romo, who's the obvious answer, and Calvin picks wide receiver Miles Austin, who was seamlessly replaced by Laurent Robinson while injured last year. Calvin's been covering a lot of baseball lately, so I guess we'll cut him some slack. At least he didn't argue for Josh Hamilton.

Given those two choices, Romo's the easy pick. But you almost have to take quarterback out of this discussion, don't you? There's no position in sports more important to its team than quarterback, and if the Cowboys lost Romo the offense would suffer greatly. No offense to Kyle Orton, but he's not in Romo's class.

If you take the quarterback out of the mix, though, I think I could make a case for running back DeMarco Murray. There's little doubt that the best the Cowboys' offense looked in 2011 was during the time when Murray was healthy and starting at running back. The defense is the reason they fell apart down the stretch, but the offense took a hit when Murray broke his ankle and they had to go back to Felix Jones as the starter. I think the Cowboys have enough weapons on offense (we haven't even mentioned Dez Bryant or Jason Witten here) to weather an injury to almost anyone. But I think if they're to function at their highest possible level in 2012, they're going to need Murray at full strength and playing the way he did before he got hurt last year.