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Anyone Can Run Behind This Offensive Line

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Anyone Can Run Behind This Offensive Line 4

It's been almost a year since the reigning Rushing Champion and Offensive Player of the Year, DeMarco Murray, took his talents to the City of Brotherly Love.

Cowboys Blog - Anyone Can Run Behind This Offensive Line

In last year's NFL Draft it was widespread general common sense that the Dallas Cowboys would find their replacement for Murray... only for them to leave the war room with no new Running Backs.

The Cowboys opted to entrust the keys to their all-pro Offensive Line-shaped Corvette to the shared backfield of Joseph Randle and free-agent-signee Darren McFadden. All offseason long fans near and far speculated as to which one of these dudes was going to be featured more prominently throughout the 2015 season.

The glass slipper seemed to fit the foot of Joseph Randle as he was put in the driver's seat first. Randle squandered that opportunity pretty quickly as he was released by the team not even two months into the season.

Cowboys Blog - Anyone Can Run Behind This Offensive Line 1

Despite a ton of rumors that Christine Michael (who the Cowboys acquired in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks in the eleventh hour of the preseason) would step in as the lead ballcarrier, Darren McFadden was finally given a significant amount of work during a Week 7 game on October 25th in New York against the Giants after being used sparingly up to that point.

For time's sake I'm going to refer to the time in the season from the Giants game on as Post-DMC. Got it? Good.

A poetic 29 carries for 152 yards and a touchdown against the Giants that day was where Darren McFadden began his 2015 journey that would find him finishing:

  • 4th in Rushing Yards with 1,089 (960 of those, or 88.2%, came Post-DMC)
  • 8th in Rushing Attempts with 239 (202, or 85%, of McFadden's attempts came Post-DMC)
  • 10th in Rushing Yards Per Game with a credited 68.1 (McFadden averaged 87.3 Post-DMC which would actually be good enough for third behind only Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin)
  • 9th in Yards From Scrimmage with 1,417 (1,186, or 83.7%, came Post-DMC & McFadden is the fourth Running Back on this list behind only Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, and Devonta Freeman)
  • 6th in Touches with 280 (231, or 82.5%, came Post-DMC)

That sounds pretty amazing, doesn't it? Here are McFadden's numbers from his 2014 season in Oakland where he played all 16 games versus his Post-DMC numbers over 11 games in Dallas this past season.

2014 2015 Difference
Rushing Yards 534 960 426 - 79.78% increase
Rushing Attempts 155 202 47 - 30.32% increase
Rushing Yards/Game 33.4 87.3 53.9 - 161.38% increase
Yards From Scrimmage 746 1,186 440 - 58.98% increase
Touches 192 231 39 - 20.31% increase

 

Let's put that in perspective.

With 20.31% more touches, specifically 30.32% more carries, Darren McFadden had 58.98% more yards from scrimmage, 79.78% more rushing yards, and 161.38% more rushing yards per game.

Cowboys Blog - Anyone Can Run Behind This Offensive Line 2

Well look at that.

He was on the Cowboys this year! They were so much better than that terrible Raiders team!

The 2015 Dallas Cowboys went 4-12... the 2014 Oakland Raiders went 3-13. So it's not like DMC's team was on fire either year here.

Also, remember all of that "Post-DMC" stuff from earlier? In the "Post-DMC" time McFadden played just a little over a game and a half with Tony Romo under center and only seven games with Dez Bryant as a receiving threat. Defenses knew McFadden was getting the ball and he still delivered.

Not to mention that the 2014 Raiders had the 31st offense in the NFL according to Pro Football Reference. That same site graded the 2015 Dallas Cowboys as having the 31st offense in the NFL. Weird, isn't it?

Cowboys Blog - Anyone Can Run Behind This Offensive Line 3

All of this fact and data can only mean one thing.

Anyone can run behind this offensive line.

As soon as Darren McFadden stepped into the featured back role in Dallas he blossomed - the numbers back that up.

What was once a joke, point of pride, and viral internet meme came to fruition for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015. Behind the services of Tyron Smith, the newly acquired La'el Collins, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Doug Free... any average Running Back can munch all of the meat off of the proverbial bone.

There are Darren McFadden truthers out there who might point to his absurd increase in production as a testament to his own skill and valor. I'm not at all denying that Darren McFadden is a fine ballcarrier who can contribute significantly to a football team... but let's call a spade a spade here. Darren McFadden isn't anything fancy.

In fact at this point Darren McFadden probably has less overall talent than the guy that he replaced - DeMarco Murray. Yet, thanks to whatever excuse Eagles fans are using today, DeMarco's numbers dropped off significantly in 2015. Why is that? He's driving a station wagon and McFadden is rolling around in this Corvette.

The Dallas Cowboys absolutely need to address the Running Back position, while retaining Darren McFadden, throughout the offseason. They can't start drinking the Kool-Aid that I just poured for you... too much of the upcoming season centers around their ability to run the ball and it being a strength for them.

What they can do is rest easy that this offensive line is absurdly talented and know that, despite a 4-12 season when everything felt like it was broken and falling apart, this part of the team is very well intact.

Who wants to drive the Corvette next?


RJ Ochoa on Fancred

What are your thoughts on Darren McFadden and the Offensive Line? Tell me! Comment below, Email me at Roel.Ochoa.Jr@Gmail.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "Anyone Can Run Behind This Offensive Line" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka

Jess Haynie

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George Iloka

The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.

He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc

This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.

However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.

Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.

We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.



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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

Brian Martin

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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T

The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.

During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.

After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.

This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.

Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!



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REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur

Jess Haynie

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L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.

Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e

Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.

Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.

Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.



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