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October 03, 2012

Lawrence Vickers, who has blocked for three 1,000-yard rushers, hasn't helped DeMarco Murray get going

Lawrence Vickers hasn't played much, and when he has, the Cowboys haven't been effective running the ball. The fullback played only 11 plays Monday night, the fewest he has played in a game this season, though part of it had to do with the Cowboys falling behind in the second half.

In four games, Vickers has played 75 of 263 plays or 28.5 percent.

"I totally understand what’s going on," Vickers said Wednesday. "Of course, being the fullback, you want to run the ball. But I want to pass the ball as well. I want to be an all-around type of guy. I just want us to win. I don’t really care about all the other things. ...I’m a team guy totally, so whatever we’ve got to do to win, I’m for it. Just being a fullback, you do what do go out there and get it 20, 25 times a game. But coach is calling the plays and whatever he calls, that’s what we’re going to run with."

The Cowboys were successful running the ball behind fullback Tony Fiammetta last season. Dallas averaged 130.4 rushing yards per game and 5.6 yards per rush in 10 games with him on the field. In the six games without Fiammetta, the Cowboys averaged 83.8 rushing yards per game and 3.3 yards per rush.

Dallas, which chose not to give Fiammetta the restricted tender of $1.32 million in the off-season, signed Vickers after the Texans released him. Vickers helped Arian Foster rush for 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011. It was the fourth time in six seasons that Vickers has had a 1,000-yard rusher behind him. Jamal Lewis rushed for 1,000 yards in both 2007 and '08 while Vickers was blocking for him in Cleveland, and Peyton Hillis had 1,177 in 2010.

But the Cowboys currently are 30th in rushing, with an average of 67.8 yards per game. DeMarco Murray has 13 negative runs this season after having only 14 in 164 carries last season.

“I think Lawrence has done a good job. He hasn’t played that much," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "...We’ve been in some different personnel groups. He’s a physical player. He does a good job of kind of working his way through the line of scrimmage leading up to his assignment, typically blocking a linebacker. He’s got a good feel for playing the position. He hasn’t had a ton of opportunities certainly to run the football. He had one chance against New York. I think he’s got a couple of catches. But in general, he’s doing his job well. He can always do it better. He can get his guy better, just like anybody can. But he’s a good football player. We’re lucky to have him."

Vickers' only carry came on fourth-and-1 against the Giants. He was stopped for no gain while running behind left guard Nate Livings. His only reception was for 5 yards.

-- Charean Williams

Twitter: @NFLCharean

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