Jason Garrett explains fullback signing

IRVING, Texas -- When the Cowboys signed fullback Tyler Clutts this week, it raised some questions about the run game and why there was a need to add a fullback.

  • Are the Cowboys concerned about it enough that they need to add a fullback?

  • Is the team admitting not having one on the roster -- it employed four running backs this season -- was a mistake?

  • Has the two-tight-end set the Cowboys were going to use this season failed them?

In a response, coach Jason Garrett said not really.

"You just want to see what’s available to ya, and he's a guy we kind a had our eye on and we feel like he can help us in some way," Garrett said Friday. "The physical nature of our football team. I think when you have a true fullback it can certainly have a positive impact on what you’re trying to get done there. But we've been pleased with the tight ends and the different personnel groups we've used."

DeMarco Murray has rushed 49 times for 248 yards with one touchdown with a two-tight end set. With three-tight-end sets, Murray has 61 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown. The 49 carries for Murray, out of two-tight end sets is the 14th most in the NFL.

Gavin Escobar was drafted in the second round as someone who would get significant amounts of playing time in a two-tight-end set with Jason Witten. Escobar has been a disappointment, though the team still believes in his abilities, despite the fact he has struggled at blocking.

James Hanna is a better tight end than Escobar, but that he has more experience might be a reason why he's getting more playing time.

But the Cowboys are using more three- and four-receiver-sets than the two-tight-end sets this season.

It could be attributed to Escobar's inability to become a consistent blocker, Murray's own struggles and the lack of run plays called.

"We’ve been in 11 personnel (one back, one tight end, and three receivers) a lot, we’ve been in 12 (one back, two tight ends, and two receivers), we’ve been in three-tight-end sets and we've been in a four-receiver-sets with no backs," Garrett said. "And we've tried to use a variety of personnel groups to attack defenses in different ways and this another element to that."