With new NFL rules in place, DeMarco Murray is making adjustments in his aggressive running style.
By JON MACHOTAFS Southwest
It's no secret that Dallas Cowboys running back
DeMarco Murray doesn't mind lowering his shoulder and delivering a blow to opposing defenders. Sometimes that includes Murray driving his helmet into an opponent to get a few extra yards.
In March, the NFL Competition Committee passed a rule which will penalize ball carriers for lowering the crown of their helmet outside of the tackle box.
Murray said last week that he didn't plan on changing his aggressive running style because of the new rule. However, Cowboys new running backs coach, Gary Brown, says he'll work with Murray on gaining more yardage without delivering the extra punishment.
"We've talked about it," Brown said. "We are going to have a plan to try to get better at that. He's explosive enough that he can freeze people's feet and get away from them and do the things he needs to do to gain more yards. With he and I working together to get him better, it should be a great thing."
And Brown says the crown-of-the-helmet rule will actually make Murray a better runner, because having his head up will allow the third-year back to have better vision.
"He will have to keep his eyes up, his head up – he will be able to see," Brown said. "I'm glad the rule is in to protect the guys, but the key is you have to coach guys to keep their heads up. We want them to be safe. We want them after their careers are done to be able to play with their children and things like that. So it is a bigger picture. It's for their future.
"You can still stay low and keep your head up. That's what the thing was when it first came out, ‘Oh, running backs aren't going to be able to protect themselves.' Well, that's not true. We are always going to run low. We are always going to be low to the ground. We are just going to keep our heads up."
Murray has struggled to stay healthy the last two years, missing three games in 2011 and six last season. But when he's healthy, Murray has been a valuable offensive weapon. The Cowboys are 6-0 when Murray rushes for a touchdown and 9-0 when Murray carries at least 18 times.