DeMarco Murray has gained 327 yards before he has even been touched this season.
Let that marinate.
Understand, Murray, who leads the NFL in rushing yards (546) and carries (99) isn’t putting up those numbers without the tight ends and receivers doing just as good a job as the offensive line creating running lanes.
On Murray’s 15-yard touchdown run that gave Dallas a 17-0 lead over the New Orleans Saints, he ran through a wide hole created by tight end Jason Witten sealing the edge and Dez Bryant manhandling the cornerback.
Murray was untouched, and Bryant was thrilled.
“It’s a commitment thing -- it’s a mindset. If you want to block, all it is is a mindset. If you don’t block, like I said, it’s a mindset -- you don’t want to block,” Bryant said. ““I’m a wideout first, I like to catch passes, but this year I think I came a long way, you know -- not using the right techniques to block, to now, feeling good about it, adding that to my game a little better. I’m not saying I couldn’t block, I’m just a better blocker now.”
And that’s really why the Cowboys’ running game leads the NFL with 165.0 yards per game and ranks fourth with 5.08 yards per carry.
Play-caller Scott Linehan began talking to the entire offense -- not just the lineman and running backs -- about the importance of consistently running the ball this season.
Linehan told them the running game wouldn’t work the way it needs to work without every offensive unit doing its part. Besides, it’s the only way to run the ball consistently against defensive fronts designed to stop the run.
“We need the receivers to crack on linebackers and safeties and they’ve done a good job,” Linehan said. “A guy like Terrance Williams -- I don’t know how much blocking he did in the offense at Baylor -- but he’s really done a good job.
“It’s not always about getting a pancake block. Sometimes, you just have to get in their way.”
Contrary to popular belief, Linehan said quarterback Tony Romo was among the first players on board with the Cowboys making the running game the epicenter of the offense.
“Every quarterback wants to throw the ball and have the gaudy numbers,” Linehan said, “but Tony understands how easy the running game makes his job. Everything isn’t on his shoulders and it opens up the running game.
“We’re all about winning. This will help us win.”
So far, it has.