Is DeMarco Murray a 'bell cow?'

OXNARD, Calif. – Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett considers there to be two types of starting running backs in today’s NFL.

There are a few “bell cows,” the Emmitt Smith-style workhorses that seem to be endangered species. There are a lot of “lead dogs” in committees.

Which category fits Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray?

“I see him as the leader of a committee, but boy, he’s got bell-cow traits,” Garrett said. “We have no issue handing the ball to that guy, throwing it to him and giving him as much touches as possible. He’s one of those guys that good things happen when he has the ball in his hand.

“I say by committee, because boy, we like Lance Dunbar; we like Joe Randle; we like some of the things that Ryan Williams is doing. You want to give those other guys a chance to touch the ball as well. But DeMarco has all the traits you want in a runner.”

En route to his first Pro Bowl appearance, Murray set career-highs last season in carries (217), rushing yards (1,121), rushing touchdowns (nine), receptions (53), receiving yards (350) and receiving touchdowns (one).

If Murray stays healthy – a big if for a player who has missed 11 games in his three NFL seasons – there’s no reason to believe he can’t build on all of those numbers this season. If that’s the case, count on Murray wanting to be paid like a bell cow after his rookie contract expires at the end of the season.