The 2015 season has been an absolute mess for the Dallas Cowboys. Injuries and really a ton of issues within the media have truly derailed the Cowboys’ season. However, one bright spot for the Cowboys this season has been the play of Darren McFadden. And with Tony Romo more than likely returning in Week 11, Cowboys fans will finally get to see if McFadden will be here for the long haul.
When the Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, Jerry Jones made a knee-jerk reaction by signing McFadden, a guy who could really never get it going with the Oakland Raiders because of a constant foot and leg injuries. At the start of the year, many thought the Cowboys would go with a committee for their backfield, with McFadden, Joseph Randle, and Lance Dunbar.
Interestingly enough, even though Randle received the bulk of the carries, I had always believed that McFadden fit best in the Cowboys’ zone-blocking scheme, but more on that in a bit. For the first six weeks of the year, Randle was the featured guy for the Cowboys, but multiple on-field and off-field problems combined with an injury led to his release.
Over the past weeks, McFadden has handled the bell-cow role extremely well. Despite going against loaded fronts, McFadden has done a good job at moving the chains and keeping the defense off the field. Now going back to my previous point. The reason why McFadden fits better than Randle in this scheme is simple. McFadden has always had excellent vision. He does a job at cutting, and it’s the ideal in-between-the-tackles type of runner.
With Tony Romo returning from the clavicle injury, defenses won’t be able to load the box to stop McFadden and make Matt Cassel beat them. Instead, they will have to worry about Romo. This will make things much, much easier for McFadden to run the ball and find success.
Over the course of the next seven games, maybe people will start to realize that McFadden could actually be the guy here long-term. After all, he’s only 28 years old and he doesn’t have a lot of wear-and-tear on his body. The injury history is extremely concerning, but the talent level is there for McFadden to produce with a star on his helmet for a few years.