Cowboys offer a glimpse to their running back plan

Joseph Randle handled the carries in the first quarter for the Cowboys on Saturday, with Darren McFadden playing the second quarter. Brandon Wade/AP

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It’s difficult to read into what happens in a preseason game, but the Dallas Cowboys might have given a hint at their running-game plans in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Forget measuring the levels of success Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden had, but look at the how and the when of their carries.

In the first quarter, Randle had six carries for 15 yards. In the second quarter McFadden had four carries for 37 yards.

That’s the definition of a committee approach.

“I thought they both did a good job,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “I thought the looks were a little tougher for Joe early on with the way they played it, then we got to some runs we could attack them with and it opened up some holes. Darren obviously did good on those and made some explosive runs.

“But sometimes the dirty ones are some of the best ones too.”

McFadden was able burst on a 13-yard run that owner and general manager Jerry Jones called “vintage McFadden.” After gaining 4 yards on three carries last week against the San Francisco 49ers and a slow start to training camp because of a hamstring strain, McFadden needed a productive game.

“You don’t need every (snap),” McFadden said. “When it’s time to play, you have to just be ready. I tried to do that tonight. For a running back, once you get in the groove, it’s hard to get out of it. Once you’re getting carries, you get the groove.”

The running back competition will continue into the final week of the preseason but there might not be a true winner.

“I think we are going to keep working and we’re going to keep grinding,” Randle said. “We’ll let the coaches do their job.”

While the clamoring for any running back not named Randle or McFadden has been loud from outside the organization, Jones remains committed to these running backs with the Sept. 13 opener against the New York Giants approaching.

“I see how we can line up certainly this coming week but I see how we can line up against the Giants, yes, I do,” Jones said. “You say, ‘Well, couldn’t you see it before?’ Now, I saw the same things before. I expect [Randle] to give us and has the talent to make some of the plays we saw him make tonight. I certainly know [McFadden] can make them and [Lance] Dunbar can do the same. If they’re healthy, I’ll take their skill and what they can bring and go to the game against the Giants and won’t ask for any more.”