DeMarco Murray is coming off a career-best season, but he remains hungry for a playoff berth.
Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray
Tim Heitman / USA TODAY Sports
By Steve HuntFOX Sports Southwest
IRVING, TexasâDeMarco Murray heads into 2014 fresh off the best season of his three-year NFL career. But Murray, a Pro Bowler for the first time after last season, a year where the Dallas Cowboys running back rushed for a career-best 1,121 yards, remains hungry because one thing he has yet to experience as a professional is what playoff football is like.
He welcomes having a new offensive coordinator in recent hire Scott Linehan regardless of whether that means he carries the ball more than he did in 2013, when he toted the rock a career-high 217 times.
"Yeah, it's always great to hear those things (that Linehan intends to run the ball more)," Murray said on Tuesday during OTAs (Organized Team Activities). "Like I said, I don't care what we do, running, passing. As long as we're winning, I'm happy with the overall stat, which is a win or a loss."
Murray, who made his first trip to Hawaii after San Francisco's Frank Gore had to bow out, likes the addition of first-round draft pick Zack Martin to the Dallas offensive line, a group he feels has what it takes to make the Cowboys an even more formidable offense in 2014.
"Definitely, I think it starts with being physical and letting those guys go downhill and not pass protect so much. I think that's the physical presence of this team. Offensive line, like I've said before, is a great group, guys work extremely hard with (Coach Bill) Callahan and Coach Frank (Pollack)," Murray said. "The young guy (Martin) has been in there for a few days and he's done well so far."
Of course, the ex-Oklahoma standout runner is no different than any other running back or any player for that matter in that he would always like to play a bigger role in the offense.
And while Murray admits all that matters in the end is whether or not his team wins, he did see some instances last year and in previous years where he feels the Cowboys could have run the ball a bit more.
"Yeah, I definitely think there was some games where we could have done better running the ball as a collective unit and there's always room for improvement," Murray said. "So the times we have success, everybody was doing their job. Receivers were blocking downfield and offensive line was making huge holes, Dunbar and I were running well. It's all about being on the same page and trusting technique, trusting coaches."
But the ongoing question with this former Sooner standout is his health. Murray missed time in 2012 with a foot injury and a knee issue last year.
However, on Tuesday, he said he's feeling great for the second week of OTAs and feels that an offseason that included some time with longtime Cowboys Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Mike Woicik has him in a good place for OTAs, the upcoming minicamp, training camp and then the start of the season.
"I just worked out," Murray said about his offseason. "I was able to do what I usually do, some yoga, spin class and a time here just to make sure I'm in shape and ready. Feeling good, feeling strong."
That's not only good news to Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett but to the legions of Dallas fans who want to see their beloved club return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.