The Emergence Of Demarco Murray And The Quest For The Record
Who would have though that going into the 7th week of the 2014 NFL season that Demarco Murray would be leading the league in rushing yard? Murray is not only leading, but dominating the league in rushing yards. Through six games, Murray has an NFL record 785 rushing yards, which is a comfortable lead among the top rushers of the league, with Le'Veon Bell trailing him with just 542 rushing yards. What is the reason for Murray's current success? Some would argue that Murray is just simply taking advantage of his opportunity. Since his rookie season in 2011, Murray has not been able to collect more than 217 rushing attempts in a single season. Through six games this season, Murray has attempted a league high 159 rushing attempts, while the next highest is Lesean Mccoy at 116 rushing attempts. Murray will likely surpass his average rushing attempts for his first two seasons in the NFL (162.5 rushing attempts) this upcoming week vs the New York Giants. Murray has always shown the ability to be a dominant running back in the NFL, averaging 4.9 yards per carry through his three year career. Murray is on pace to break his current single season records of rushing attempts (217 attempts in 2013), rushing yards (1,121 yards in 2013), yards per game (80 yards per game in 2013), and touchdowns (9 touchdowns in 2013).
The Dallas Cowboys have already showed some concern about the amount of carries Murray has attempted due to his history of injury. Murray has yet to complete a full season in the NFL, missing 11 games in his first three seasons. Some would say he has shown a propensity for injury and taking on the biggest workload of his career could backfire. The Dallas Cowboys find themselves in a tough situation. They are currently 5-1 tied for the best record in the NFL and tied atop the NFC East division. A major contributor to their success is Demarco Murray's ability to run the football. Their decision to dedicate themselves to the running game seems to be a winning formula. The Cowboys are desperate for their first postseason appearance since 2009, and Murray may be their ticket there.
Let's take an in-depth look at Murray's ability to gash defenses and rack up tons of yards each week. The players that usually don't get enough credit are the offensive lineman, without the dominant offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys, Murray would not be able to dominate week in and week out. Since 2011, the Cowboys have spent three first round picks on offensive lineman (Tyron Smith in 2011, Travis Frederick in 2013, and Zack Martin in 2014), and they seem to be paying off. This offensive line has been able to dominate the trenches and open up huge gaps for Murray. If the offensive line continues to gel as a unit, Murray is set up for success. Another unnoticed characteristic of this 2014 Cowboys offense is their unselfishness. Another vital contributor to Murray's success is the exceptional blocking by wide receivers and tight ends such as Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. These factors will contribute to Murray surpassing the 1,000 yard mark for the second straight season.
The Pro Bowl running back (2013), is raising the question, can he break Eric Dickerson's single season rushing yards record? Eric Dickerson hold the single season rushing yards record with 2,105 yards in 1984 when he was a member of the Los Angeles Rams. The closest any player has come to Dickerson's prolific record was in 2012 when Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings rushed for 2,097 yards, 8 yards short of the now 30 year record. Through six games, Murray not only leads all players in rushing yards, but he leads most teams. Murray has rushed for more yards than every team in the NFL other than, the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Ravens. In comparison to Eric Dickerson and Adrian Peterson, Murray leads both running backs in rushing yards through six games (Peterson had 499 rushing yards, Dickerson had 605 rushing yards, and Murray has 785 rushing yards). Murray's 131 yards per game average will need to increase slightly (1 more yard per game) in order catch Dickerson's record.
If Demarco Murray is able to stay healthy throughout the entire season, he should be able to break Dickerson's single season rushing yards record. Along with Murray's success, the Dallas Cowboys should be able to win at least 10-12 games if Murray can stay healthy, most likely helping them reach the postseason for the first time since 2009, which would make Jerry Jones a very happy man. Let's see what Murray can do this week vs the division rival New York Giants.