The Dallas Cowboys will hopefully commit to the running game much more often next season under new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, and we already know that he’ll have big things planned for his running backs in the passing game. Linehan ran the league’s premier two-back system with Reggie Bush and Joique Bell on the Detroit Lions, allowing both to succeed big-time as pass-catchers. Both Bell and Bush made big plays in the passing game, and they were also money on the ground. DeMarco Murray was even better than both of those guys last season, and we know that he can make a big impact in all facets of the game. The issue is whether or not Linehan can get big things out of backup running back Lance Dunbar, who showed plenty of flashes last year when he was healthy and actually utilized.
It’s clear that the Cowboys need to get their No. 2 back more involved next season, as Dunbar had a mere 37 touches in nine games. They need to get him the ball more often, as spelling Murray will help him be even more effective as the team’s feature back. It sounds like that’s exactly what Linehan plans to do, otherwise Dunbar wouldn’t be excited about the new offensive system.
Dunbar said, via Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas, “It’s pretty exciting. There’s a lot of screens and stuff. He got them the ball in space.”
Getting RBs the ball in space on passing plays? What a novel concept. Dunbar has just 13 career receptions, but he has the ability to do so much more as an all-purpose backup to Murray. Linehan praised Dunbar for his intelligence, and I would be surprised if Dunbar doesn’t play himself into significant snaps. If he doesn’t, then it’s because somebody else was able to usurp him as the No. 2 guy. Maybe I’m just hopefully speculating that Linehan will cause the Cowboys to use their RBs more, but I am buying into what Linehan seems to be selling; the Cowboys will use their running backs more.