<
>

Jason Witten: 'Silly' to think anybody can do what Murray did

PHOENIX -- There is a theory going around about the Dallas Cowboys and their running game that sounded a lot like the theory around the team in the 1990s: You can get just about any running back to have success behind that offensive line.

Emmitt Smith became the NFL’s all-time leading rusher with help from an offensive line that had too many Pro Bowlers to count. DeMarco Murray led the NFL in rushing in 2014 with 1,845 yards, breaking Smith’s franchise record for yards in a season, with three Pro Bowlers blocking for him.

Jason Witten does not subscribe to that theory. At all.

“We’ve got good running backs,” he said. “Joe Randle took advantage of every opportunity he got. I think [Lance] Dunbar’s got a great future ahead of him. Obviously the O-line, but I think it would be silly to not give him the credit for what he did. It’s not easy to do that and I think Coach [Jason] Garrett said it a few weeks back that he created a mindset for our team and that’s not easy to do. He deserves a lot of that credit, DeMarco does, and so that’s why you want a guy like that back because he stands for everything you want in your football team.”

But the financials will play a part in Murray’s future. The Cowboys can afford to pay him whatever they want. It will be a question of if they want to pay him big money before the free-agent market opens.

Witten will do everything he can to make sure Murray stays. The two developed a tighter relationship in 2014 as workout partners in the offseason.

“You don’t invest that time just for one year,” Witten said. “You’re really thinking big picture. But he deserves it. He’s worked hard. He has a lot of good things around him and he’s the first to give others credit. You want him to have as much success as he can, but of course you want him on your team. … You want to see him maximize that but there’s no question that I hope he’s thinking about guys like me when he’s going through that decision. Not that he owes us anything because he doesn’t, but that he wants to be a part of that. But you know it’s a business, too.”