Everyone seems to have their opinion of how the Cowboys will utilize Joseph Randle in the run game. Some believe that Randle is not a complete back and offers minimal upside. Others believe that he is a future feature back in the NFL.
Which is true?
Well, I’m no fortuneteller, heck, I’m not even sure I believe in fortunetellers. What I do know though is that Randle has fallen into a great situation.
I’ve been crunching some numbers and this is what I found. If you combine 2011 and 2012 running backs not named DeMarco Murray carried the ball 370 times out of 695 attempts. That means that 53% of the time, a running back other than Murray is carrying the ball.
Another fun stat to look at here comes when you examine the running backs as receivers. In ’11 and ’12, Tony Romo completed a pass to a running back 153 times. Out of those, DeMarco Murray only had 39% of the receptions.
If you’re into trends, and most football fans are, you’re seeing that for all the talent DeMarco Murray has, he isn’t exactly reliable to stay on the field.
If my research serves me correctly, Randle hasn’t missed a game in the last two seasons. While he’s in Dallas his durability is going to give him ample opportunity to contribute.
Randle is coming off a college career that saw him produce two 200+ carry seasons, two 1000+ yards seasons, and a final two years in which he produced 38 touchdowns. Additionally, Randle added 108 receptions for 917 yards and three touchdowns.
I’m not saying it’s doom or gloom for DeMarco Murray. Murray is a fine back with a ton of upside and natural talent. However, Murray isn’t durable and that spells disaster for teams that focus on a balanced rushing attack.
Statistics seem to indicate that Randle is going to get at least 120 carries this season. If he even comes close to his college average of 5 yards per carry, Randle will be good for 500 yards this season on the ground.
What you get with Randle isn’t a guy who has fantastic measurables, but one that has exceptional vision and ability to maximize a run. Randle has speed when turning the corner and excellent moves in the open field. One of the strongest aspects of his game is his ability to pick up the blitz in pass blocking. A reliable receiver, Randle will be able to offer a security blanket for Tony Romo.
Watching Randle makes Me believe he could be the future at the position for the team. At the very least, he’s an insurance policy that gives the Cowboys a dangerous running-back-by-committee and a worry-free reliever for Murray.