It's about DeMarco Murray's plays, not carries

IRVING, Texas -- When asked about the workload he has received this season, DeMarco Murray did not want to expand on the feelings he expressed earlier in the week.

Suffice it to say, he feels good, even if a little illness kept him out of Wednesday’s practice. He was back for a full practice Thursday and will play Sunday against the New York Giants.

The Cowboys want to limit Murray’s touches, not just his carries. In addition to 159 carries, Murray has caught 21 passes, tied for second on the team with Jason Witten. It’s an easy thing to say, but not an easy thing to do.

“At the end of the day, if you’re playing the way you expect to play and the way it needs to be it’s going to get in that number fairly often,” playcaller Scott Linehan said. “Every game is different. We’ve been able to do it so far and it’s certainly been a good formula for us at this point but these other guys are going to continue to play more; we’re certainly not saying DeMarco is done after so many carries. He’s been, I thought he really looked stronger in the fourth quarter this week with maybe less plays opposed to less carries.”

The fact that the talk has been about cutting back on Murray’s workload seems funny to Witten after hearing nothing but how the Cowboys have to get the running back the ball more in his first three seasons.

“He’s done an unbelievable job,” Witten said. “The offensive line deserves a lot of credit but so does he. This offseason he was my workout partner and it’s amazing how he’s kind of prepared for this opportunity. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s tough. He’ smart. He’s eager. He wants to be the best. He doesn’t settle. So I think he embraces this role that he wants to be the guy that can carry it every down so he doesn’t want to come off the field. He has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder and has something to prove. It’s been good to see and even with his success early on I think he knows, he’s quick to give others credit and he’s got to continue to do it week in and week out.”

Dez Bryant said Murray is playing to the standard they all expected.

“DeMarco knows what he has to do, just like the backup running backs, they know what they have to do to,” Bryant said. “It's just the standard and the mindset that we have going into each and every practice. It's no such thing as a workload. We embrace every challenge and I think that's exactly every guy in this locker room has been doing and we're going to keep doing what need to do and try to win ballgames.”