DeMarco Murray's Record Breaking Season has Dallas in Position to Make a Return to the Postseason
First ever to run for 100 yards in seven straight
DeMarco Murray's performance to this point in the 2014 NFL season has been spectacular as he has taken advantage of strong offensive line play to get to the second level of defenses on a regular basis. After showing signs of being injury prone, throughout the early stages of his career, Murray has been able to carry the load in the running game completely for Dallas this season. With a strong running game to lean on, everyone on the Dallas offense has benefited, most notably Tony Romo in the play-action passing game. With a strong running game, Dallas ability to control time of possession has helped their defense to be much more effective this season than they were last season. Overall DeMarco Murray's season has him in line to win the NFL MVP award as the 2014 season nears the halfway mark. Concerns about his future durability remain, but if Murray is able to stay healthy for all 16 games this season, the Cowboys have a ground game in place that could have him taking home the MVP trophy at the end of the season.
Draft focus on offensive line paying off
The success of DeMarco Murray this season is largely because of his talent, but the team around him makes his job much easier. With Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin as starters along the Dallas offensive line, that makes three recent Cowboys first round draft picks as members of their current starting offensive line. With the consistency that the Cowboys offensive line has shown in their run blocking this season, DeMarco Murray has not had to create his own running lanes early in the development of plays. The offensive line as a unit for the Cowboys, has consistently won their blocks at the line of scrimmage and gotten to the next level to create the running space necessary for Cowboy's ball carriers to break into the opponents secondary on a regular basis. When the Cowboys have seen overloaded fronts to stop the run, they have been able to sort out the blocking scheme well enough to prevent the extra defenders at the line of scrimmage from overflowing gaps in between the tackles. Based on the way the Cowboys offensive line has performed overall this season, it is not surprising that a talented running back like DeMarco Murray has been able to take full advantage of the opportunities presented to him.
Making the team better
While DeMarco Murray's efforts in the running game have been aided by his teammates on the offensive line, the yardage he has gained while keeping the clock running, has helped to make his teammates better in other aspects of the game. It is not a coincidence that Tony Romo is having one of the most efficient seasons of his career, without having to carry so much of the offensive workload. The play-action passing game has been extremely effective this season for Dallas, as Tony Romo's deception from the quarterback position has worked effectively to move defenders out of position in the passing game. DeMarco Murray's impact on the ground demands extra attention from the defense, and as a result the Cowboys are able to get a better read on what the defense is trying to do when they have to overcommit to try to stop him. The other area of the team that a strong running game for the Cowboys has helped to improve, is a defense that many were down on coming into the 2014 season. By keeping the clock moving, and holding the ball for longer, the Cowboys defense does not have to play as much actual game time as they were forced to do in the past. A well rested defense for the Cowboys has been key to their success to this point in the 2014 season.
An MVP effort
DeMarco Murray's accomplishments have been remarkable in so many ways this season, but the consistent effort from game to game have made the biggest difference for his football team. Murray breaking the NFL record for most consecutive one hundred yard rushing games is just the beginning of the consistency that he has been able to show. The effectiveness that Murray has shown in the red zone for the Cowboys, has been huge in converting situations that might otherwise be field goal attempts, into touchdown scoring possessions. Rarely allowing his team to fall behind the chains is one of the more underrated aspects of what Murray has been able to accomplish this season. Early down yardage for the Cowboys all season long has helped them to be much more efficient overall on the offensive side of the ball. Being able to avoid sure passing downs, has allowed the Cowboys to add an element of unpredictability to their offense that is a luxury very few teams are able to have. The strong running attack led by DeMarco Murray has helped the Cowboys to completely control the way the game will be played when their offense is on the football field.
The way that DeMarco Murray's efforts have helped to make the Cowboys better, has them in great position to qualify for the postseason in 2014. Late season games have been problematic for the Cowboys in past seasons, but a strong running game gives them the opportunity to play well in cold weather cities in December. Overall the efforts of DeMarco Murray, put him on a short list of players who are currently the favorites to take home the NFL MVP trophy this season. With Murray showing no signs of slowing down, it would take some misfortune for the Cowboys to be unable to continue the success that they have established with a great running back behind a great offensive line. The Dallas Cowboy's running game has helped their team to come together this season, as their success has shown them the importance of being good teammates that trust each other to contribute to the team's ultimate goals.