In what surely couldn’t have come as a surprise to many Dallas Cowboys fans, the team released fullback Lawrence Vickers this past weekend. If you read this site, you’d know it was an expected move. Dallas is moving to a more tight end heavy offense so there was no need for Vickers and DeMarco Murray will thrive without a fullback in front of him.
There is a theory out there that Murray was better when he had a lead blocker in front of him, and there is some evidence of that, but the statistics point otherwise. Yes, Murray meshed well with former fullback Tony Fiammetta but that could likely be attributed to a chemistry the pair had during his only season in Dallas. Fiammetta seemed to sense who he needed to block and Murray’s vision allowed him to key off of Fiametta.
However, despite the success the pair had together Murray has run better without the benefit of a fullback. Last season, Murray averaged 4.6 yards per carry in the lone setback and 3.8 yards a carry in the shotgun, in both of those formations obviously Vickers wasn’t in front of Murray. When Vickers was set up as the lead blocker, Murray only averaged 2.9 yards per carry. Looking at those numbers it’s easy to see that DeMarco Murray should be a much better runner without a fullback, and Vickers in particular.
It remains to be seen what the Cowboys will do in short yardage situations and just who will lineup as the Cowboys H-back when they do put someone in front of Murray but this change will work out well for Murray and the running game. This development will likely mean that Dallas will keep four tight ends on the roster, which was also expected.
This latest move made sure everyone on the Cowboys offense knew where they stood heading into training camp and it was the right move from the team. If DeMarco Murray stays healthy, he could be in line for a very big year in 2013.