Before the Dallas Cowboys are discussed as a playoff team, (at least) two things are needed: 1) Marked improvement from a defense that blew five fourth-quarter leads in 2011; 2) Having rookie sensation DeMarco Murray ready to rumble.
The Cowboys' draft potentially shored up issue No. 1. Murray on Thursday provided hope for issue No. 2:
Everyone keeps asking me how I'm feeling.. Let's just say if there was a game this Sunday,29 would be in the backfield! #cowboynation
- DeMarco Murray (@DeMarcoMurray) May 3, 2012
Coach Jason Garrett said in April that Murray still was recovering from the broken right ankle that ended his rookie season. That recovery appears to be moving at a brisk pace.
A healthy Murray gives the Cowboys' offense a dimension it sorely missed in his absence. Murray's stunning debut (25 rushes for 253 yards against the St. Louis Rams in Week 6) lifted Dallas from 29th to 13th in the NFL in rushing -- in one game.
Tony Romo and the Cowboys could use more of this in the days ahead.