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Could Cowboys go with committee approach at RB?

IRVING, Texas -- On Saturday, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said DeMarco Murray would have fewer touches in 2015 if the free-agent running back re-signs with the team.

Much of the debate about keeping Murray revolves around durability and sustaining production after a season like 2014, when he carried the ball 392 times for 1,845 yards. Asking any running back to repeat a franchise-record season is ridiculously unfair, but if the Cowboys are unable to retain Murray, they could look to replace him with two runners.

In the two playoff seasons before 2014, the Cowboys used a committee approach.

In 2007, the Cowboys had three Pro Bowl offensive linemen in Flozell Adams, Andre Gurode and Leonard Davis, and Marion Barber and Julius Jones combined for 368 carries, 1,563 yards and 12 touchdowns.

In 2009, the Cowboys had two Pro Bowlers on the offensive line in Davis and Gurode, and Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice combined for 394 carries, 2,026 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Even if Murray comes back and his touches are reduced, he will still be the lead back over Joseph Randle, Ryan Williams or any other back they keep (Lance Dunbar), sign or draft. But the disparity in carries from 2014 -- Murray had 392, Randle had 51 -- will not be as great.

If Murray leaves, the same would hold true with a free-agent signing (Mark Ingram?) or a draft pick (Melvin Gordon, Jay Ajayi) as the lead back and Randle and whoever else as the secondary ball carriers.

"I think that generally we are in two-back systems across the league if you look at the practical way it shakes out," Jerry Jones said. "Most of these teams split a running game that approaches the number of rushes we have. They split it. But there are more backs. There are more backs. That adds to what happens. That adds to the answer: how do you address your running game? OK. You don't necessarily expect to have a back carry that kind of load and still have a very successful running game."