Joseph Randle could carry bigger load for Cowboys
10/15/2013 7:29 AM
10/15/2013 7:29 AM
DeMarcus Ware could miss a game for the first time in his eight-year NFL career.
DeMarco Murray isn’t saying whether he is about to have a third straight season interrupted by injury — a move that could force Wichita native Joseph Randle, a rookie out of Oklahoma State, into the starting lineup.
The star pass rusher and starting running back for the Dallas Cowboys both were injured in Sunday’s 31-16 win over Washington.
Ware strained his right quadriceps muscle in the first quarter. Murray exited in the second quarter with an MCL sprain in his left knee.
Their health is likely to go a long way toward determining whether the Cowboys end a three-year playoff drought.
It won’t help that the first game after the injuries is Sunday in Philadelphia. The Cowboys and Eagles are tied for the NFC East lead at 3-3.
The update from coach Jason Garrett was the same it is every week with every player – Ware and Murray will be evaluated daily, and there is no timetable.
Ware has played through injuries before – mostly involving his neck – which is why he has appeared in all 134 games with 133 starts as he approaches the halfway point of his ninth season. He called himself doubtful and said he wouldn’t have played if the game were Monday.
“It is different because I go out there this time, I wouldn’t be 100 percent,” said Ware, the franchise sack leader with 115. “If I tried to go out there right now … there wouldn’t be a point of it. I wouldn’t be able to get off the ball like I should.”
Murray declined to talk to reporters in the locker room Monday, just as he did after the game.
If Murray can’t go against the Eagles, it will be the 10th game he has missed since his rookie season in 2011, when he fractured an ankle and missed the last three. He was out six games last year with a sprained foot.
Randle got touches for the first time in his career and had a 1-yard touchdown when center and fellow rookie Travis Frederick pushed him into the end zone. But he had just 17 yards on 11 carries.
Phillip Tanner had one carry for 2 yards, and the Cowboys aren’t sure if Lance Dunbar will be back from a hamstring injury that kept him out against the Redskins.
“We have to be able to run the football well when DeMarco Murray is not our runner,” Garrett said. “That’s last night, but that’s also in recent history, like you suggested. We just have to put the next guy in there.”
The biggest defensive play came from one of many replacements on a defensive line that was missing Ware and Anthony Spencer, who is out for the year after knee surgery, along with a key backup in Tyrone Crawford.
Kyle Wilber sacked Robert Griffin III, stripped the ball from the Washington quarterback and recovered it at the Redskins’ 3 to set up the Cowboys’ clinching touchdown.
If Ware misses any games, that is just one more key player that a rotating bunch dubbed the “no-name group” by owner Jerry Jones will have to live without.
“It definitely hurts that you have two of our playmakers, our stars out that contribute to the game big for us on both sides of the ball,” cornerback Brandon Carr said. “But at the same time, it’s the next man up mentality.”